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Peter Benchley's Regret


Image by Wai Siew

A jet plane zooming through the sea,

caudal fin thrusting water over the pectoral,

creating lift, stabilized by dorsal fins.

Absorbing oxygen with gills, water through skin—

an evolutionary masterpiece of over 400 million years.


Peter rued inventing the anti-Flipper with a taste for human flesh.

The oceans couldn't survive without them, he warned.

But the lions of the sea were hunted, dropping 70 percent.

Apex killing Apex—100 million a year.


Fins ripped from writhing bodies, tossed bleeding

into the pelagic drink, electroreceptors spasming.

The mortally wounded sink, taking hours to drown.


Absent the selachians, their former cuisine run free,

scooping up those cleaning the reefs which enable

coral to grow, over-consuming seagrass needed

for clean water, carbon storage, shelter.


Coral and seagrass, the ocean's building blocks—

the food chain, the web of life torn apart

for shark fin soup.


Anne Gruner is a Pushcart-nominated writer whose poetry has appeared in Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Plum Tree Tavern, Humans of the World, Jalmurra, Written Tales, Spillwords, Superpresent Magazine, Topical Poetry, and Old Mountain Press anthologies. She is preparing a debut poetry chapbook on the changing climate.

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