Shark (상어)

By | 22 May 2011

“Father-killer and father-supplanter. Go in, and think on this.”
– Sophocles

Reportage:

A man, a father taken today by shark
white pointer, a thrash of white water
whilst snorkelling with his son. A struggle
then blood – in the eyes of one onlooker.

Commentary:

I’m not one for the sea the underneath –
the three feet it can take! Circumspect
as the line gathering on shore, I collect
myself for the cameras as helicopters spy

above, there below a shadow the size
of a small boat. Should it be killed?
the reporter asks. Everyone else asks
after the boy. Should it be killed?

he repeats. I utter something about loss
my own father – they say the camera adds
weight, I think I even use the word love –
the sea is in my ear now. But it’s the shark

I’m after, for, about. I almost say thankyou
as the camera pans out across the bay
as the boy appears in the furrows, white
as a sheet, intact, a fleet of craft behind

him, a fleet of craft before him: dorsal fin
at the epicentre. The crowd agape, shoal
that they are, on land. Floundering, a woman
wraps him in a towel, pulls the snorkel

from his lip. Assumes in her absence
the role of mother. The Emergency
cannot get near him, he recalls nothing.
The reporter dives again, his father

in his mouth, Should it be killed?
the boy’s eyes roll back, his jaw widens
several teeth are missing – the crowd
rears – though this is hardly unexpected

given his age. I swear I can see right
into his gut as the reporter rephrases
the question. There is nothing of his
father in him, no stock footage. There

are no easy answers, no grab, bite
gear, goggles, no fragment of wetsuit
to cling to. Just expedition – the roar of
the sea, the tumult encased in shell.

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