Michael R. Burch: Options Underwater; The Song Of The First Amphibian

“Evolution’s a Fishy Business!”


Breathing underwater through antiquated gills,
I’m running out of options. I need to find fresh Air,
to seek some higher Purpose. No porpoise, I despair
to swim among anemones’ pink frills.

My fins will make fine flippers, if only I can walk,
a little out of kilter, safe to the nearest rock’s
sweet, unmolested shelter. Each eye must grow a stalk,
to take in this green land on which it gawks.

No predators have made it here, so I need not adapt.
Sun-sluggish, full, lethargic—I’ll take such nice long naps!
The highest form of life, that’s me! (Quite apt
to lie here chortling, calling fishes saps.)

I woke to find life teeming all around –
mammal, insect, reptile, fish and bird –
and now I cringe at every sight and sound.
The water’s looking good! I look Absurd.

The moral of my story’s this: don’t leap
wherever grass is greener. Backwards creep.
And never burn your bridges, till you’re sure
leapfrogging friends secures your Sinecure.