, , , , , , , ,

Far-off wave, depraved. Nali leans over

the edge of the dugout, shakes her rattle.


She calls: “Big Sister let my Small Sister

come to me.” She does: out from the coral


shadows a shadow rising, a shadow

vast, vast as the tide’s rip, twisting current,


rising into song. I was there. I know

you don’t think women can do this. Pregnant


ghosts will scorn you for that. They love Nali,

though. I rowed. She sang and Femme de requin


came to have her snout rubbed, to feast on prayer.

Sisters swam here until men trawled this sea


down to its ghosts. The price of a shark fin

is when you call and only ghosts answer.



Femme de requin is French for shark woman. The inspiration of this poem came from watching Dennis O’Rourke’s 1982 documentary, The Sharkcallers of Kontu.