He thought we ought to start with the flies that were gathered on the jellyfish's curly blue tentacles, and that we should include the fact that he was the one who noticed it. It smelled a little bit, but not that much, and a lot of people stopped to look at it. I wanted to talk about the colors, and how we all wanted to touch the blue and purple air-filled sac.
Working together for a few minutes, then with me tightening things up and filling things out, we came up with this:
It mustn't have been dead long,
though the flies, who are keen to such things,
had gathered on the curly tentacles,
impervious to the poison.
The oldest boy found it first.
We had gone to the beach together,
the three children and me,
to play in the rippled waves
and dig our hands in the gray sand
and look for shells.
The pneumatic bladder,
the simple sail that moved this collection of blue beasts
around the ocean,
was full to puckered.
We were all tempted to touch it,
especially the lurid purple seam
across the top,
but some hidden sense said no in the little ones.
Pattern tells us it is not uncommon
to find them here
in the early spring,
something to do with the ways the currents carry things, lee and way.
Still, passers by stopped and bent over
to wonder at the impossibly beautiful hues
and the cartoonish plump
and the hint of dark danger
of the Portuguese Man-of-War