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Remora, Remora

Clinging to the shark
is a sucker shark,
attached to which
and feeding off its crumbs
is one still tinier, 
inch or two,
and on top of that one,
one the size of a nick of gauze;
smaller and smaller
(moron, idiot, imbecile, nincompoop)
until on top of that
is the last, a microdot sucker shark,
a filament’s tip – with a heartbeat – sliced off,
and the great sea
all around feeding
his host and thus him.
He’s too small
to be eaten himself
(though some things swim
with open mouths) so
he just rides along in the blue current, 
the invisible point of the pyramid,
the top beneath all else.

—Thomas Lux

From The Cradle Place
Houghton Mifflin, 2004

Copyright 2004 Thomas Lux.
All rights reserved.

Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company. Copyright 2004 by Thomas Lux. For further permissions information, contact Ronald Hussey, 215 Park Ave. South, New York, NY 10003,

Poetry 180

About the Poet

Thomas Lux (1946-2017) is the author of 20 poetry collections, including To the Left of Time (2016). Born in Northampton, Massachusetts to working class parents, Lux attended Emerson College and the University of Iowa. He died in 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Learn more about Thomas Lux at The Poetry Foundation.