"Aphrodisiac", by Sean Shearer

The poem that inspired "Seafoam"

The "Seafoam" project is a series of blog posts, poetic musings and recipes surrounding the idea of queering the traditional notions of aphrodisiacs. This poem has been a magical encounter and inspiration for us. 


by Sean Shearer, Boulevard: Issue 100.


I bought a bottle of powdered seahorse pills

at a head shop,

where I haggled the price down

by five dollars, but still paid too much.

I bussed back to my apartment

and googled the subject: twenty million seahorses

ground down each year,

an ounce of seahorse worth more than

an ounce of silver, and I’m glossing over

at least ten other ostensible facts

about seahorse powder.

Later I read of the fish—

struck by their courtship rituals

it’s no wonder these pulverized creatures,

crammed into capsules, parade

their residual affection

as they course through the bloodstream

of men with little libidos.

I could paraphrase

from what I gathered on Wikipedia,

however, the paragraph

on seahorse courtship alone is a poem itself:

“When the female’s eggs reach maturity,

she and her mate let go

of any anchors and drift upward,

snout-to-snout, out

of the seagrass, spiraling as they rise.”

I’m now obsessed with seahorses.

There’s so much beauty in them

and the word seahorse.

I like that I can spell seashore

from seahorse.

I like to picture the word seahorse swimming

too quickly, the letters rearranging

and letting go of the o, where it drops to the seafloor.

The word now spells hearses.

I like to think that each one

of these gelatin capsules

carrying these seahorses

are hearses. I fill a glass of tap water

from the kitchen sink,

place three hearses on my tongue,

and tow them into another sea.



Seahorse Ranch - Image source: Erik Wilde, Flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dret/6839994537