Rachel Mindell


Once a year on full moon find them: glowing

their way like bubbles rising


a champagne flute for the roof

do these marine invertebrates impel their spawning


upwards, after soft polyps have swelled in release

and propelled towards the ocean surface hundreds,


hermaphroditic bundles that shine in the night

filled with egg and seed as they ascend or cling inside their


together-shape or float for capture by scientists,

I am a scientist, waiting in labs under red light


to collect them, guarding containers

filled with harvested coral and saltwater


and the packages begin to

break apart, falling like a silk robe to the ankles


of each white bucket, releasing ova and sperm,

as lab specialists suck the gamete cells


quickly up through pipettes in their gloves

which are so much rigor, savior, captor, keeper


so as to bank the cells for cryo-freezing, such for shipping,

stacked for storage, that one day reefs like the Great Dead Barrier


mother gone grey and fetid, might live yet again, another night

another benevolent cork future popping its blue or


purple, orange and branching

swaying skeletal magnum across the sea.




RACHEL MINDELL is the author of two chapbooks: Like a Teardrop and a Bullet (Dancing Girl Press) and rib and instep: honey (above/ground). Individual poems have appeared (or will) in Black Warrior Review, Denver Quarterly, DIAGRAM, Foglifter, Forklift, Ohio, The Journal, and elsewhere. She works for the University of Arizona Poetry Center and Submittable.