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THE GOLEM KAYAKS by Diane R. Wiener

(for Lin Hill)

The Golem flies us to the Galápagos when we learn Darwin’s arches have collapsed to pillars.

We kayak toward big-eye jacks and scalloped hammerheads, who introduce the rocky theater.

Green turtles in the balcony bide their time until the white-tipped reef sharks return.

I’m hoping the sooty terns will sing with us and the other wet chimney sweeps.

The chimneys were built by the bristle worms who make their fires in hydrothermal vents.

The bristle worms tell us they met Prometheus on this site, back when the arches were firm.

The last time my arches collapsed, I got prescribed orthotics, the Golem says.

The local fauna is not sure what to make of her sense of humor.

We understand that the people who watched the collapse were aboard an aggressor, I say.

The terns are dismayed at erosion’s dirty work, but still hold up their end of the conversation.

The Moorish idols say they are relieved not to be in an aquarium, because of the rumors.

We are proud omnivores, the Moorish idols tell us.

Do you enjoy eating corals and sponges, too, they ask in the sloping channel.

What Happened Next

It may have been a natural cause, but I’m still disappointed, the Golem says.

The creatures and plants gather around the pillars and we all look to the sky.

Charles was such a nice young man, one of the sharks reflects, cleaning her cartilage.


Diane R. Wiener is the author of the poetry collection, The Golem Verses, and the poetry chapbook, Flashes & Specks. Her poems also appear in Nine Mile, Wordgathering, Tammy, Queerly, The South Carolina Review, Welcome to the Resistance: Poetry as Protest, and elsewhere. Diane’s creative nonfiction appears in Stone Canoe, Mollyhouse, and The Abstract Elephant Magazine. Her flash fiction appears in Ordinary Madness; short fiction is forthcoming in A Coup of Owls. Diane is Editor-in-Chief of Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature and Assistant Editor of Nine Mile Literary Magazine. Website: Twitter: @DianeWorms. IG: @fuzztux. Diane’s poems in this Kalonopia anthology honor and celebrate Marvin Bell’s Dead Man poems.

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