Poetry Writing Awards

“Shark in the Forest”

I saw it once from a friend’s roof,

The slithering fin haunting the treetops.

I saw the leaves wincing around it,

Tried to follow the trail of the twitching twigs—


I held my breath, in order to focus better

On the glinting teeth below the canopy.


“Don’t worry,” my friend told me then,

“It’s never come up to the house.”


I hardly heard her.

I watched the gills graze the edge of the treeline,

The tail flick into wide open sight

As it floated back into the deep tree fog.


I realized I’d never know if it caught any prey,

Unless I went into the woods myself:

The trees were too dense to witness any struggle,

The blood too thick to ever rise to the surface.

- Marta Shaffer