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Distāntia: “Neptune’s Handfasting”

By Petra Kuppers


Godzilla rubbed his belly and burped.

Purple microbes popped in the hurricane,


loosened themselves in gut loops, kicked

the membranes, flicked across mucus


to the outside. They flew. Pacific rollers

silvered so they could surf, a gaggle of


abandon, too small to drown, fragments

of dinosaurian DNA unspooled in the dawn.


The ship breathed in the mist. The wave

sprinted in from the stern, the invisible


conga line kissed dull red metal, climbed

the hull up to an open porthole, slithered


in a bead of foam, and dripped right in.

Tiny violet streamers tasted and tugged,


hooks searched for nooks in sailor

flesh beneath the fresh howl of air,


the wave’s sinus ebbed away but here

was a home, moist human welcome.


Tissue-deep, the little ones roamed.


Vibrations sang into tangle.


Fangs connected to mitochondria.


A snore escaped, a crewman’s shuffle.


All settled to stew.


All bedded to starless heave of night.

Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, and Professor at the University of Michigan. Her most recent books are the speculative short story collection, Ice Bar (2018), and the ecosomatic poetry collection Gut Botany (2020):