20 degrees north, 62 west.
The outer rise of the Puerto Rico Trench,
a hundred miles north of Anguilla.
New Moon, 1% visible. Kraken darkness,
lit only by octopus phosphorescence
and the bright detonations of ejaculating eels.
They’ve been travelling in tandem for five days now,
through frittering flames of fertilised ova
and the disarticulate, space-junk fall
of dead and dying eels. This is their predestiny,
their inescapable fate, the fate of every Atlantic eel
since the Yucatan asteroid dropped its apocalypse
sixty-six million years ago—to ruin themselves
in the act of breeding and die in the dopamine afterglow,
drifting down from the towering heights of ocean
to the black red clays of the five-mile abyss,
layer upon layer upon googolplexian layer.
Steve Ely‘s books of poetry include Oswald’s Book of Hours, Englaland, Incendium Amoris and Zi-Zi Taah Taah Taah: The Song of the Willow Tit. His books have won or been nominated for several literary prizes, including the Forward Prize for best first collection, the Ted Hughes Award, the Michael Marks Award and the Northern Writers Award for poetry. His most recent books of poems are Lectio Violant and the Laurel Prize short-listed The European Eel, both published in the summer of 2021. Steve is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at University of Huddersfield and Director of the Ted Hughes Network.