Hawaiian bobtail squid are born as wide
eyed moustaches, blobs of speckled nothing,
ghost-babies, scared
of their own shadows. They sift
the night water for specific bacteria
to tickle into a pouch.
The bacteria live, counting themselves
            (Are we enough to act?)
            (Will the world notice us?)
When they hear the echoed
            (yes) (yes) (yes)
they luminesce
and the squid devour their own shadows.
Then every night, they feed their pouch
until it shines. To the teeth
that wait below
they become moonlight.

When the night is over and the squid
slither down to sleep in the sand
they vomit forth their brightness
until their insides dim in loneliness
and the sea is enriched with tomorrow-light.

You tell me this and I wonder
how many transparent secrets are hid
by making your viscera luminous.

Robin Lamboll researches climate change and human emissions, and writes on the intersection between the natural and the human. Robin has won Cambridge, UK and Madrid international poetry slam finals, and came second in the World Cup of Slam in 2019.

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2 Responses to Bioluminescence

  1. Lorie says:

    Ode to a planaria

    How doth the little planet keep getting ahead? It must be quite an attitude, such neverending …plentitude!

  2. L.K. Latham says:

    Never had the process explained so well. Life in action. Nice job.

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