“Endangered Hawaiian monk seals keep getting eels stuck up their noses and scientists want them to stop”

title of an article published in the Sante Fe New Mexican, Dec. 8, 2018

by Emmy Newman

Featured Art: White Lines by Irene Rice Pereira


All teenage seals, the foolhardy lummoxes

of their families, the ones with belly rings and chokers,

vanilla frosting flavored lip gloss and no car payments.

Four seals with eels up there, the scientists write, so far.


She looks unconcerned: blissful, the snapshot seal,

her eyes shut tight, the supple buttery wrinkles

of her neck skin folding over like a pair of winter socks

and two visible inches of eel dangling from her left nostril.


The eel could have loved the seal, a non-scientist argues,

wriggling upward in hopes to close the space between.

But it has been decided that seals do not love

the way eels do, and anyway, who would


attempt such a reckless act of closeness

unless looking for a warm place to die.


Emmy Newman is a MFA candidate at the University of Idaho. Her work has appeared in Cream City Review, Inverted Syntax, The Ekphrastic Review, and elsewhere. She currently serves as poetry editor for Fugue.

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