The female seahorse
tendrils her tail around his,
brings him close in their morning dance.
Later, she’ll close the distance
between their bellies,
and pump his pouch full of eggs.
There they dwell, hatch, grow, until,
body bucking, he spurts the fry
into the surrounding sea.
Who decides who is female, male?
Mother, Father? When she left,
we were 3, 2, and 1, all in diapers. Fry
measure less than half an inch,
the length of a fingernail,
yet from dad they have enough
to drift, wrap their tails earnestly
around seagrass, sift for shrimp, and secure
mates, homes of their own.
I want to give you a gold trophy
of Hippocampus, a blue ribbon
embroidered with an orange seahorse.
The way our lives unfolded,
when we look close
at one of those pregnant males,
there should be a little badge with
over the button of his heart.