There was a time when fish had fingers
miniscule digits at the end of their fins,
which were useful to them for prising things open
for picking up coins and old rusted pins
for loosening fishermen’s lines,
for pointing out notices and undersea signs . . .
and as for all the other uses the fishy nation
had for their fingers, I leave that to your imagination.
But some time back in the ice age,
which came as a terrible shock,
the sea turned into one vast frozen block
and their fingers dropped off to be trapped there
for thousands of years, maybe more,
lying in clumps on the cold ocean floor,
waiting to be harvested in our own time
by the few divers able
to descend to such depths and bring them
as delicacies to your table.
from In the Land of the Giants (Salt, 2012), © George Szirtes 2012, used by permission of the author