roseanne jordan
Blue Bodies Litter the Beach
by Michael Minassian

I stop my wife
as she is about to pick up the first jellyfish,
so blue and small it looks like a shell:
a dark mollusk or tiny anchor
from a long-ago wreck
the sea has thrown up.

A translucent mass tinted pink, blue, & purple,
beckoning even in death’s disguise:
like drowned dirigibles,
or an organ removed
from the body of the sky
without muscle or bones,
blood red tentacles trailing behind.

I do not know
what that inner atmosphere is like,
or if I could breathe the air within;
would it smell as sweet
as the serpent’s kiss,
or taste like the ocean bottom:
sand and salt and sunken skeletons.

Could I look up and launch
the pink ridge of sail,
would I see stars
or stones of tropical reefs,
the shark’s tooth’s glint
or the sun’s glare?
Could I spare the sharp sting
of venom on my wife’s skin –
would I beach myself,
would I dream of ships
with sails falling off the edge of the earth?

PHOTO: “Blue jellyfish” by Roseanne Jordan. Prints available at

SOURCE: Originally published in Iodine Poetry Journal, Fall/Winter 2011/2012: 55. Also appeared in Verse-Virtual, February, 2016.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem after visiting  Ft. Lauderdale Beach [Florida] with my wife who had just moved from Germany to our home in Florida. It was her first time seeing jellyfish of the type I described and I had to stop her from touching one because she thought it was a seashell.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michael Minassian lives in San Antonio, Texas. His poems have appeared in such journals as The Aurorean, The Broken Plate, Exit 7, The Galway Review, Third Wednesday, and Verse-Virtual. He is also the writer/producer of the podcast series Eye On Literature. Amsterdam Press published a chapbook of poems entitled The Arboriculturist in 2010.