from sponge divers to cosmonauts
The helmets came too late to save us,
as did the new diving-suits, but arrived
in time to aid the cosmonauts.
Now we saw the grasslands of the deep
through glass, while they donned visors
to assay the stars.
The rituals of setting off and coming home
were known to both, but they preferred
the saltpans of the galaxy to our dark sea.
We shared the same uncertainty:
six months on land, six months away;
but we had glimpsed Atlantis,
ocean’s psychotropic mystery.
Their mission was a reckoning
involving eros and the sun,
where cosmic charioteers confront
Apollo on the plane of Mars.
Like them, we had been touched
by the sublime, and stalked
by the unknown: the mystique
of risking all; the tale one owns.
Note: From the cycle “The Sea, the Stars, and Kalymnos”,
inspired by the sponge-diving tradition of that Aegean island.