Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny

by Casey Riordan Millard

“Shark Girl” by Casey Riordan Millard

by Ann LaBar

“How would you like it
if I were dancing with a dead shark?”
My five-year-old daughter asks
from the back seat.

And I remember an old  lover
who after late night studies,
dissections, wrapping small sand sharks
in Saran wrap to store in his dorm room
would stop in the middle of everything
and ask if I could check him
for pharyngeal gill slits.

She reads from her book,
Creatures from the Deep,
shouts, “Their teeth grow back!”
And bites the two-year-old
sleeping soundly beside her.

Requiem shark fetuses
are intra-uteral cannibals
consuming their less developed siblings.
Pregnant for the first time, I was enormous.
Twins were suspected, never found.

Passing the shopping center, the 7-eleven,
we keep moving.
My gill slits long since sealed,
I still never sleep,
moving only to keep from drowning.

Categories: Mothering, Poetry

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