By Sarah Wallis
Uncaged from the sweep of the sea
a fragile and unexpected thing is thrown
onto the beach.
Anger at displacement
lashes out, the only thing that’s free.
Investigators come to see the lights
that we might call lungs, landlubbers
and their young draw close.
A small girl trips
and falls, giving her armpit to cradle
a jellyfish, both gasping on the sand.
Torchlight and silence fall on the wobbled
mass of tangled girl
and tentacle, they
breathe the shivered tide.
To revenge themselves and show the girl
what protection of the pack meant, they cut
the jellyfish, which had acted on its nature
as each took part in theirs,
but for all the puzzled science they only found
dying on the beach and they couldn’t find the lights.
Sarah Wallis is a writer based in Leeds, UK. Publications in 2018 include Ellipsis, Reflex Fiction, Pidgeonholes, Train, Burning House Press, and Best New British and Irish Poets. She has held theatrical residencies at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds and Harrogate Theatre, which have supported her plays, The Rain King and Laridae.