survival is reductive

I was afraid/I’d eat your brains

“Conversation 16,” The National

We’re drunk and sparking, our legs are open
Our hands are covered in cake
But I swear we didn’t have any

“The Geese of Beverly Road,” The National

of all places (and through Twitter)
The New York Times tells me
the Greenland shark may be
the longest living vertebrae

i learn that this sea creature
“… has a life expectancy of at least 272 years”
and then i look at a photo
recognizing survival is reductive

bullet-bodied and steel-eyed
everything mythologized about sharks
terrifies me sitting here 200 miles from an ocean
frivolously drinking a second cup of coffee with honey and cream

my literary mind is rattled
Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos
Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and Blade Runner
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and The Walking Dead

and of course the man hiking for recreation
who had to cut off his own arm to survive
like a Greenland shark feeding for 27 decades
even if it must swallow this man and his Armani suit whole

you i must admit are nothing like this shark
your eyes warm and your body curved perfectly for mine
so that i am prone to say “to hell with survival”
because i’d rather live wrapped in your arms and legs instead

3-greenland-shark1