THE SHARKS TOOK THE REST by Dana Diehl

There are so many ways to kill the shark.

Electrocute it with an underline power cable. 

Shove a grenade down its throat.

Feed it a pressurized scuba tank. Shoot. Wait for the boom.

Killing a shark is always personal. The shark ate your wife. The shark ate your son. The shark ate the beauty whose skin you’d noticed on the beach—the way sweat beaded on her collarbones, the way salt water pooled in her bellybutton. Every shark attack victim is someone’s daughter, someone’s son, someone’s lover. But the shark is hungry, hungry, hungry. It will take everything, and then it will take the rest. There are not enough sons or daughters or lovers in the world to satiate this shark. 

Shark is power. 

Shark is bite. 

Shark is teeth, constantly replacing themselves. Tens of thousands of teeth over the course of a lifetime.

Shark is four-hundred and fifty million years of inherited memories. Memories of dinosaurs shaking the Earth’s crust. Of skies painted with volcanic ash. Of oceans choked in ice. Of the first men in the first ships, keels slicing the ocean into units.

Despite all of this, in the end, the shark always dies.

Maybe once the world had room for an appetite as big as a shark’s. But not anymore. 

If only it had minded its own business. If only it had kept to the deep, subsisting on the corpses of whales, on squid, on sleeping fish. It could have grown old in the dark, Arctic waters, outliving our children, and their children as well. But that wasn’t enough for the shark. It had to swim to the surface, had to venture into the warm shallows. Had to feel the sunlight on its back.

When the shark explodes, you’ll be surprised to see it was blood and guts and entrails and organs all along. A part of you expected it to be made of stone, or of mist, or to simply disappear like the monsters in your favorite horror movies, leaving no body behind.

When the gulls clear, all that will be left of the shark are teeth. You’ll spend the rest of your life with your eyes on the ocean waiting for the shark that will take the dead one’s place.


Dana Diehl is the author of Our Dreams Might Align (Splice UK, 2018) and the collaborative collection, The Classroom (Gold Wake Press, 2019). Her chapbook, TV Girls, won the 2017-2018 New Delta Review Chapbook Contest judged by Chen Chen. Diehl earned her MFA in Fiction at Arizona State University. Her work has appeared in or is forthcoming in North American Review, Passages North, Necessary Fiction, Waxwing, Mid-American Review, and elsewhere.

Art by Bob Schofield @anothertower

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