I fell into a maelstrom of regret and self-loathing,
a vortex of rage and shame and recrimination,
until it sucked me beneath the surface of my self
into the inky depths where giant squid silently glide.

There I floated, a drowned rag, almost at peace.
On the ocean floor, cold and soundless as an iceberg,
I built the dread engine of my vengence,
encrusted with coral and barnacles.

With myself I found a crew: cynicism
for the topedo room; stocked the galley with self-pity;
resentment commanded the bridge,
all powered with the throb and diesel fumes of anger.

I cruised the sea like an eel, stared up at the surface
that wavered like a distorted mirror,
where couples rowed calm waters and held hands,
found joy in light that showered down like gold coins;
I plotted to ram and splinter their boats. I conspired
to melt the icecaps and flood the world with salt water,
planned to kidnap the Sun itself and hold it for ransom,
and when I had been paid in emeralds and rubies,
I would renege, extinguish the Sun in the deepest valley of the Sea,
plunge the world into eternal, frigid night.

But the surface was out of reach. My plans rotted and rusted.
I made a mattress of the ooze of the ocean floor,
found a hidey-hole in a sunken ship.
The cargo hold bulged with romance novels
that mocked with tales of undying love and alabaster bosoms.
Myself aflame with jealous rage, I tried to burn the books
but the sodden, stubborn pages refused to light.

Now I swim where the great whales hunt.
I bejewel myself with cast-off bottle tops
and feed on oysters, myself a cannibal mollusk
searching in each shell I crack open
for an opalescent pearl of great price,

like a woman with hair of gold in the sun,
and eyes green as the surface of the sea.