It was the underbelly of a shark,
but it could’ve been G-d.
There was something holy & comforting
in the slow crawl of evolution
that saw this sea-cherub
through millions of years,
just to leave it practically untouched –
the only thing  
that isn’t broken.

It was a great white,
a photo taken off the coast of South Africa
& turned into a centerfold for National Geographic.
I taped it to the ceiling,
always afraid that thumb tacks might fall out
& blind me in my sleep.

Despite my skin being much smoother,
& my smile not as toothy,
who’s to say that millennia ago,
long after that Change had its way
with the great fish monger,
I, too, wasn’t swimming in the same sea?
Is it so hard to imagine that we were once
fish of a feather, ladled in a mermaid’s purse?

After returning to that room
for the first time in decades,
I notice that my icon
has vanished.

All that remains is a bit of tape,
teaching me the half-life of translucency.



MATTHEW GERMENIS is a graduating senior English and History major at The University of Southern Mississippi, with a minor in Black Studies. He is currently finishing his Honors thesis, "'the impossible that is going to happen': The Denial of Death in Roth's Zuckerman Books," and will present his research at the "Philip Roth: Across Cultures, Across Disciplines" Conference at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland in June 2014.