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Rated: E · Poetry · Animal · #2198369
A poem recounting the struggles of a pilot fish.
Poor Pilot Fish

Poor pilot fish am I,
Attendant to
The ocean’s prime assassin.
She prowls her hunting deep
And leaves me scraps
From drowning men.
My orders break
My winding back
One beat of hers
To ten of mine.

Proud remora
Rides the pounding death.


12 Lines

Author’s Note: Pilot fish are small, striped, carnivorous fish that accompany sharks and rays, feeding off parasites and scraps from their hosts’ kills. Remoras adopt the same strategy, except that they have suckers on top of their heads, enabling them to attach themselves to the host and so hitch a ride to the next meal.

This poem is a slight exaggeration in that, occasionally, a pilot fish can get lucky by catching the bow wave of the shark. This allows it to “surf” effortlessly just in front of the shark’s nose. The book that taught me all this as a child, an early publication by Jacques Cousteau, has a photograph of a pilot fish achieving exactly the trick described.

The poem was written in 1970, give or take a year or two.

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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2198369