Athena 1920 1440 Chestina Craig

For the 14ft Hammerhead Shark caught off a beach in Texas that died after it was brought to shore

where I’ve been, great hammerheads are named after Gods.
this is the best way to recognize what they were before land existed.

somewhere in the south of this magnolia tree country,
along miles of the Atlantic’s extended tongue,

a man hooks Athena on his line & thinks himself god––
a child shaking a bee in a bottle––

pulls the shark ashore & straddles her like hell’s horseman,
jerks her head up to the camera & demands a smile. all teeth.

later when they interview him, the news clamoring
at his deadly door, he mourns like a good man.

he insists like church preacher how he tried
to teach her to swim. benevolent god

to the bone. & Athena & I remember
every hook we’ve ever felt through our skin,

every reverse drowning & the landlocked hands
crossing themselves up & down like forgiveness we will not bestow.

she was a beast that wasn’t supposed to die, which goes to show
they never thought her alive in the first place.

Header photograph © Lannie Stabile.

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