• Steph Shuff

angler fish

a little white light

dances in the deep dark night

shines like hope in an endless blue

it beckons me

to explore the sea

way deep down in the bottom of you


I stand on the ledge

peering over the edge

still salty from the dive before

wet and aching

with a heart that's breaking

like I'm stranded on an endless shore


I do not go lightly

into love, gay and brightly

I don't toe my feet along the line

I am fearless and free

I was raised by the sea

So I swan dive — head first — in the brine


I behold the hue

in the heart of you

like Jonah squinting down into the whale

I am afraid to fall

and to risk it all

to collect you like another fabled tale


if you're not for me

if we're not meant to be

then spit me back into the blue

send me down deep

to enjoy loveless sleep

there is nothing worth living after you


but if you swallow me whole

then consume me, my soul

breathe me till I am in your bones

welcome me in

let me under your skin

where I can make a home inside your home


you dazzle my sight

with poetry, so bright

it twinkles and lights up the blue

if you bite, don't you miss

because my warning is this:

I can be an angler fish too

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