ode to icky

Image

icky icky, you so fine…
(photo by whitney)

The oneiric oceans of

my youth

were populated

by giant reptiles:

sleek, piscine,

denizens of

triassic seas and

jurassic depths

Toothed, flippered

warm-blooded,

viviparous,

they were like

dolphins

and whales

in every regard—

except that

they were not

dolphins

or whales

Like the sea turtles,

these were

reptiles that

returned

whence they

evolutionarily came,

from mare

to terra firma,

then back again

They were the ichthyosaurs,

or “fish lizards”—

the ickies—

the likes

of which

have disappeared

entirely from our

earth

I remember a

picture book, by one

david peters,

which

introduced me

to all creatures

big, not small:

the outsize,

the leviathan,

the Brobdingagian

of the beasts;

and of the benthos,

there was one icky

that captured

david’s attention:

shonisaurus

or, shoni

This “lizard from

the shoshone

mountains” was

superlatively

large,

fifty feet in length,

forty tons

of water weight,

eyes a foot across

and skull

ten times that span

It is not

the biggest icky

on the books

but in my book,

(and apparently,

david’s, too)

[and ditto nevada, for which shoni

is the state fossil]

shoni’s number one

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