Flying saucer

Jan Haag

That’s what he looked like in the murk of morning
filtering through saltwater—  

and instantly I accorded the behemoth male status
because of size, because of weight made weightless—
because I, too, floated weightless near that ancient being
flippering so casually, parallel to the island,
as if he had no place he had to be, and neither did I
for a change,

two of us—one honu, one human—one of us alien
in this environment, the other not seeming to mind
an artificially flippered one tagging along,
interrupting his morning nibbles of tender limu
on volcanic remnants, each holding our breaths,
lifting our heads to the surface to snag some air
now and again, one of us marveling at the other
making his saucer-shaped way through his universe—

until I knew that to follow him would be at my peril,
for I was the malihini here, the stranger,

so I drifted and watched his carapace
disappear into the sea where I hoped
he would, with luck, live his long turtle life,
and I, poor landlubber, would return to mine.


Jan Haag teaches journalism and creative writing at Sacramento City College where she also advises campus publications. She is the author of a book of poems, Companion Spirit, published by Amherst Writers & Artists Press. In addition to leading weekly creative writing workshops in Sacramento, she has written two novels and had poems and essays published in many journals and anthologies. She is also the co-publisher of River Rock Books in Sacramento.

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