Dante’s Europa

Below the cracked ice of Europa
Cruise astrophysical sharks (for lack
Of a more accurate term), bodies
Triangular in cross-section, each
Side a ventral surface containing
Nostril, mouth, gill slit, anus (ordered
From head to tail). Transparent bodies
Show tripartite digestive systems
To the bright lights of submarine probes.

Three-lobed brains branch from central nerve cords.
The feeding frenzy slices and swirls.
Further up the food chain, receptors
In three heads lead through three nerves to one
Into a somatic, treble brain.  
Like a giant hydra, this triune
Apex predator rules its frigid
Hades, its underworld where blind life
Writhes and engulfs in a sea of black.

Dante’s Europa first appeared in Star*Line, Issue 46.1, Winter 2023.