Turritopsis dohrnii, philosopher’s stone, monstrous moonshine

Immortal jellyfish, as their name blasts in your face,
Live forever. And what do they do with that?
What sonnets have they written? What thoughtful proofs
Have they submitted to a jury of their mathematical peers?
I’d settle for an aria of unsurpassed beauty,
One you’d do whatever necromancy required (herbs,
A piebald goat’s thymus, an incantation about the firstborn)
To bring Maria Callas back to sing.
                                                              To think there are people 
Alive who heard Callas, maybe not in her prime,
But when you are supreme, the shoulder season is glorious.
Like roses. They’re bred for continual beauty
Or fragrance, even if they are not the top note
In any perfume I want to wear; grey amber,
Ambergris, floated in to cold beaches, whales’ beneficence.
 
Remind me why we left the sea? We come back every year
If we can. Implausible, scaly mermaids (never mermen)
Cannot lose their appeal. Dolphins, my son tells me,
Are always ready to fuck.
 

Daisy Bassen is a poet and community child psychiatrist who graduated from Princeton University’s Creative Writing Program and completed her medical training at The University of Rochester and Brown. Her work has been published in Oberon, McSweeney’s, Smartish Pace, and [PANK] as well as multiple other journals. She was the winner of the So to Speak 2019 Poetry Contest, the 2019 ILDS White Mice Contest and the 2020 Beullah Rose Poetry Prize. She was doubly nominated for the 2019 Best of the Net Anthology and for a 2019 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Rhode Island with her family.