Fish inhabit the muzzles of the guns,
corals encroach and in the surrounding sands
garden eels like spotted, shy umbrella handles
weave up and down in the dappled undertow.
Below deck the octopus considers
with human eyes and high round forehead
the careless war’s drowned riches
while offering affectionate tentacular embraces
to certain tasty morsels in the dark.
In the surgery fish flick fussily
over operating tables where sponges dwell
and warty skulkers hide in corroded boxes
of kidney bowls and crusted scalpels.
In the drug cupboards lobsters lurk,
performing careful autopsies on distant cousins.
Small crabs sift the evidence once more,
and everywhere a drifting soup of life
is pumped through delicate fringed syphons ceaselessly.
Sharks pass through on their rounds,
grey custodians of the fighting decks,
while in and out of portholes fly
the legion single-thinking shoals in silver panics.
On the bridge, fish made up like minstrels
for old fashioned summer pier end shows await
their tiny hygenists, who fly
into gaping mouth and out through gill
with professional speed.
The siren shells that sang the ships to sleep
are crumbling; lost certainties
are overgrown with corals.
That fine balance of community
reminds this body that it’s no unity;
ancient recollections stir
those divers rising up to mind.