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The Deep

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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#StorySaturday is a Guest Blog weekend experiment in which we invite people to write about science in a different, unusual format – fiction, science fiction, lablit, personal story, fable, fairy tale, poetry, or comic strip. We hope you like it.

The deep

A submersible climbs down the ladder

of the black water rung by rung


to where the crushing pressure

would end a human like a tin can


though glowing fishes swim by unbothered

their heads like meteors burning up.


At the floor, filamentous crabs

drag pale claws through the current


while mote-like animals sift downward

in a snow that falls for miles


and giant fronded worms stand in crowds

waiting for their arrival.


Next door to our apartment

is an old dog with threadbare skin


dying. Deaf and sightless,

she makes a keening at night


trying to recall the sound of her voice

or learn whether people still exist


but all she hears is a pressing quiet

that echoes with distant whales.


Although everything around is darkness

the animal gives off her own faint light.


She wants to find the bottom but

can’t quite travel deep enough.



Sulfur bubbles

Sulfur bubbles

Image Credit: NOAA

Previously in this series:

Tinea Speaks Up—a Fairy Tale by Cindy Doran (fairy tale, talking animals)
Animals Exposed to Virtual Reality Hold an Emergency Meeting by Ferris Jabr (fairy tale, talking animals, video)
The Making of a Mutant: A Fruit Fly Love Story by Ricki Lewis (fairy tale, talking animals)
Step One: A Medical School Pivot Point by Samyukta Mullangi (personal story)
A Noble Betrayal by Kirk Klocke (lablit)

Elizabeth Preston About the Author: Elizabeth Preston is the editor of Muse, a science magazine for kids. She also writes Inkfish, a science blog for non-kids. She enjoys walking gratuitous distances through Chicago and running after frisbees, but rarely finds opportunities for climbing. Follow on Twitter @InkfishEP.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. West Wind 10:12 am 05/6/2012

    Hello everyone

    This is my first comment. Just signed in and looking forward to a summerlong reading and sharing with my favorite science magazine audience. Briefly introducing myself: I am not a scientist in formal sense but I have been reading, thinking, pondering and dreaming about science as long as I remember myself. I cannot think of a world without science, period.

    So hello…

    Link to this

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