Dreaming Inside the Egg Sac of a Basking Shark

I.

he holds by-catch
silent guy, put
on “the spectrum”
he sorts through whiting
salmon sharks
cookie cutters
threshers, dog fish
indiscriminate lashing of
boat nets, trawling and seining
vast ecosystems
Pacific depths

Learn More: Shark Bycatch | Oceana Europe

II.

he knows 500 species
by heart, Asperger’s
the old label
he pulls in gasping sharks
or flat octopus
even the state
gal with book
in hand is stumped
but our young man
diagnosed 30 years
ago, first grader
mother pushing
boy, until now
in an RV overlooking
the docks he works
hour after hour sorting
menial sometimes 70
hours in week:

Shark Bycatch – A Budding Conservationist's Mind

III.

obligate ram ventilators
their lives are continual swimming
passing water onto gills
oxygen keystone
gillnets are their
requiem
dusky
mako
white tip reef
scalloped hammerhead
silky
pelagic blue

Brian Raymond: Bycatch :: Wetpixel.com

IV.

wreathing on seafloor
caught in a web
slow death
sounds only this young
man, trapped in autistic
elegance, in awe of death
he brings home jaws
dumps babies from
shark sacs into
pickle jars
drying shark skin
hanging up in RV
he’ll try cooking
anything they let him
take, shark graveyard
finds, like archeologist
he holds
cartilage
in between
long nimble fingers

California Sets New Rules on Drift Gillnets | Shark, Save our oceans, Sustainable fishing
Paul Haeder's new bio is about suspending all those credentials, all those titles, all those in-the-trench experiences he's acquired and worked hard on in his 64 years (2021): Novelist, essayist, journalist, social worker, college and K12 educator, environmental warrior. Terms and avocations more meaningless as cancel culture rises and rises from left and right insanity. Paul's book, Reimagining Sanity: Voices Beyond the Echo Chamber (2016), looks at 10 years (now going on 16 years) of his writing at Dissident Voice. Read his musings at LA Progressive. Read his short story collection, Wide Open Eyes: Surfacing from Vietnam now out, published by Cirque Journal. Read other articles by Paul, or visit Paul's website.