Abyss & Apex : Third Quarter 2009: Emperor Fish

Emperor Fish

by Daniel A. Rabuzzi


Caliaster floated off the barrier reef,
A dirigible of flesh, an island alive.
Tribes of mackerel hunted in the trenches
Between his scales,
Whales gathered like fleas around his gills.
Stray palm trees dotted his back, shaded by a dorsal fin
That overtopped the pyramids.

One day Caliaster spied land, a limes that blocked his vision.
He reared – piscine nations fled, the kelp bowed down.
Six days he challenged the shore, but no answer came,
Only the back swell of waves.

On the seventh day, Caliaster roared,
“There shall be no division between us­ I will own you.”
He began to drink the ocean.

God stood watching from the shore,
A curlew,
Her feet wet with froth and curlicues of salt.
She sighed.
She had seen all this before.

Caliaster swallowed half the ocean before he burst,
A fish the size of India,
A Krakatoa when he tore apart.

His death-wave roiled the beach.
The curlew lifted her feet, flew above the spume.
When the water receded, God returned to the tidal pool.
She sighed.

Long after, sailors reported that great towers grew undersea.
Atlantis, they thought, but no memorial was ever raised for Caliaster.
Even the whales have forgotten his name.





Story © 2009 Daniel A. Rabuzzi. All other content copyright © 2009 Abyss & Apex Publishing. 

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Art Director Steven Coker, Jr.