by Robert Jackson

Cycle and churn, washing machines
wear fleece pullovers and dry-wick shirts thin,
turning plastic fibers into micro pool-noodles 
that slip seaward

to cake the surf, sprinkle ocean trenches
where mini-shrimp sip
the soft-hued filaments—body-length—from sand,

shrimp swallowed in turn by hunting arrow worms,
centers strung in pastel fibrils 
stranded when each prey’s absorbed, 

worms guzzled by drifting comb jellies
with tapestries of plastic warp and weft 
coating the heart of each translucent orb

inhaled by salmon bulking up
to spawn in graveled redds, 
pink plaits of floating colored fluff 

eaten, last, by us, 
a skin of hand-me-down felt
—coral, seafoam, canary—
piling slowly in our cores.

About the Author

Rob Jackson has published poems in Southwest Review, Split Rock Review, Portland Review, Cortland Review, Atlanta Review, LitHub, and many other journals. A Guggenheim Fellow, poet, and environmental scientist, he has also published columns and articles in the New York Times, Scientific American, and more.