In 1896—nearly fifty years after Melville’s masterpiece,
three years before Freud’s Dream
and my grandpa’s journey across the Pacific—
a storm shoved seven tons of white blob
onto a St. Augustine shore:
twenty-one monstrous feet of glistening flesh—
a surviving archaist or alien
or devil of the deep.
Chunks were immediately shipped to the nascent Smithsonian
for display then storage;
until, one hundred years later, a Florida scientist
examined the same specimen, as well as
new blobs floated up from the depths—
declaring the cryptozoological curios merely
the remains of large cetaceans.
The narrative of the stupefying has closed with
nothing more than pure collagen
washed up from the ocean’s unconscious. Sad to say.