Marine Life Thrives in Unlikely Place: Offshore Oil Rigs by Erik Norbie

New York Times headline


Fish will school the skulls
of our homes too

someday when the arctic icecap drowns.
And homestead the first floors

of our high-rises
after the algae have pioneered in.

It’s not surprising
given our femurs

were once steel girders
that our first cells barnacled to.

Even now, the studies say,
we are as much bacteria

as human—an ocean of species
plumbing the hulls of our abdomens.

Because every life becomes
a scaffold for another one:

the swinging crane of sunlight
assembling new canopies,

the grow box of a coffin
blossoming with annelids,

the parting gift of a footprint held
open like a hand.


ERIK NORBIE is a writer living in Minneapolis. His work has appeared or soon will in The Examined Life Journal, Emerge Literary Journal, and in collaboration with visual art.