Writing is like taking your clothes off in public: at one level or another, you're exposing yourself to people you don't know. Yet writers still write; we still show off our crazy to complete strangers. Hopefully it generates some empathy and a few laughs, but it might just make your belly flip with painful recognition. Because see that naked crazy person? That might be you up there. So read on, friend; you're not alone here.
Jill Bolte Taylor's Stroke of Insight
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Lazarus Fish
Coelacanths (/ˈsiːləkænθ/, adaptation of Modern Latin Cœlacanthus "hollow spine", from Greek κοῖλ-οςkoilos "hollow" + ἄκανθ-α akantha "spine", referring to the hollow caudal fin rays of the first fossil specimen described and named by Louis Agassiz in 1839 ) are members of an order of fish that includes the oldest known living lineage of Sarcopterygii (lobe-finned fish and tetrapods). I ask him about love
the real kind
the meant-for-each-other kind
and though he doesn’t think it’s
any more likely than a unicorn
he pretends to consider the question. He says
he’s heard of it but never
seen the thing itself.
I sense the rationality
behind his words, and am crushed.
I think of all the lovers I have known
I search for one pair among them
who live in the kingdom I imagine:
peopled with dragons and princes
queens and the courtly knights who would win them
and suddenly the wakeup call is too much.
Like a child who abruptly knows the kindly man
with the laugh-lines and white beard
and an overabundance of gifts
is not and never was real
I am awake
and grieving for the dreams.
But who among us knows love?
If it exists at all it’s so rare it is barely a rumor:
someone said their grandparents had it
somebody else witnessed it once, in passing
at a cafe in Paris.
Fairy tales and stories, children’s games
something you grow out of
something nature fools you into
for a few blind years, then leaves you stranded.
The real thing is an animal
that may have gone extinct millions of years ago
like coelacanth, that strange wild-eyed fish
long relegated to the fossil record.
Some crazy biologist is out there hunting it
against all the evidence that this thing is still around;
like that child who won’t let go of Santa
like that staunch believer in Sasquatch.
There is a gleam in the biologist’s eye
an imbalanced, uneasy gleam.
Why doesn’t she just settle (the sane wonder)
for an ordinary fish? So many cod and salmon,
thousands of tuna; why the coelacanth?--this creature
that if it ever existed, will never be seen again.