AQUAMAN’S FATHER EXPLAINS
First, you had to learn oxygen—
pickled in her brine for nine months
the lifetime supply
was snipped by a doctor
with a soap opera name
while she slept in the maternity ward
in a drugged stupor. Superheroes
do not have mothers for long.
We had to get you ready.
Before she emerged from the anesthesia,
formula from a can. Of course,
I had you circumcised! We moved
to the bottom of the ocean
what better preparation for the total
separation that was to come.
While I read the texts of an ancient
civilization in a waterproof house
(that was always damp with towels
and bathing suits) you learned
to swim under ear popping pressure
with whales, gardens of sand eels, sea slugs
and seals. What else could you do with no one
to talk to? They didn’t talk back—you were
a curiosity-- and you couldn’t control them
either. That was the myth you wrote for yourself.
What other consolation was there
with no one to love at the bottom
of a motherless sea?
Michael Carter writes: My work has appeared in Ploughshares, Boulevard, Columbia Poetry Review, Infinite Rust, and Provincetown Arts Magazine among many others. I am a two-time Writers by Writing Tomales Bay Fellow, a Nadya Aisenberg Fellow at the Writer’s Room of Boston and was recently a Summer 2018 Wolf House Resident. I have poems forthcoming from Black Rabbit Review, Western Humanities Review and The Dandelion Review.
A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, I have an MFA from Vermont College and an MSW from Smith College School for Social Work. I am a poet and psychotherapist living in Connecticut.