Esme Franklin '13
At two hundred feet down
the cliffside is still scrabbling
towards the highway’s edge
as though seasonally rediscovering
it was born a bastard.
Sea lions rest on battered rocks
at its base, screaming their ablutions
to the sea. Tourists descend
an industrial elevator to photograph
the beasts—to find their fat
pooling on one side of the body or the other.
Going down, I smell the sweat of children
who have never sweat before.
They do not believe monsters can be real.
Choosing an animal close to me
I imagine rubbing cooking oil
counter-clockwise onto its pelt,
feeling for the fetus of a form
that is neither fearful nor beautiful
but slow to discern the difference.
My sea lion heaves onto its back.
A sign tells me they have been here
much longer than we have. Corpulent
symmetry fills the cavern, glinting
from one figment of a god to another.