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File:Expn4384 (27840605922).jpg
NOAA Photo Library

Image: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration Reservoir and Research 2015

Yes, there are three of us in this marriage:

the shrimp couple and me – Euplectella.

It’s a symbiotic relationship.

They live in, rent-free, and vacuum for me

(food and utilities are included)

and have access to my crystal palace –

a conceptual, aquatic Grand Designs –

styled innovative build; a Habitat

lampshade, rather than Liberty lighting.

Shrimps grow into their own imprisonment,

enmeshed and limited by their own greed.

As a species, they are basket cases,

but accept that life is a compromise

and, at best, brittle and precarious.

The kids always leave as soon as they can,

but end up in the same situation;

hard-wired to repeat parental choices.

As bioluminescent chandelier,

I light up their narrow lives and they look

out through trabecular net curtains at

a profound darkness, filled with predators,

who, like voyeurs, spy on their every move.

Some find beauty in us when we are dead:

museum cabinets’ dust collectors.

Like Venus, we are not so delicate:

we strengthen co-operation until

all the oceans run dry; seas turn to glass.

Trust us.  We are the transmitters of light.