The Boy Who Knew Where the Sharks’ Teeth Lie

High overhead in the noonday heat
Ospreys stretch out and glide
Seagulls hover to snatch a fish
But they don’t know where the sharks’ teeth hide

Sun-glassed people dot the beach
And look down where shells have landed
But grow weary in the summer heat
And go home empty handed

There! There!
A tiny boy looks out to sea
With his beefy bag of teeth
To summon all his sharky chums
That circle ’round beneath

The sun sneaks down behind a line
And shadows begin to flitter
At night starfish begin to creep
Along the twilight glitter

Creatures with so many feet
Tiptoe along the dunes
But they don’t know where the sharks’ teeth lie
Under the light of moon

Enormous, massive, grey and huge,
Shady sharks will surface
At midnight from the ocean’s floor
To meet the boy who stands alone
And calls them from the shore

Some say he knows every scaly fish
Although it sounds insane
He flies among the stars at night
And calls each shark by name

“Hey Finley!
Thrasher, Pokey, and Ruth!
Show me each and every pearly tooth!
Riptide, Raven, Rusty and Inky!
Swim to me!
Before you sink!”

Up! Up! Up! from rising tides
These monsters from the deepest deep
Open wide their jaws to show
Rows and rows of pointy teeth

AAAAAR! They hiss and throw a fit
Then growl and start to riot,
‘Til the impish boy raises high his hand
And says mightily, “BE QUIET!”

He had no sword, no knife or lance
To face so many jaws
He only had his Magic Brush
To clean them, one and all

Some sharks squirmed and rolled about
A few fell sound asleep
But glassy bright he cleaned their teeth
And took ones he wished to keep

Into his bag
The incisors went
They were not broken
They were not bent

“Good night, sharks! Goodbye for now!
Keep sharp and shiny, don’t go too deep!
I’ll see you ’round at next midnight.
I’ll call for you, your shiny teeth!”

The creatures slipped back through the waves
With a quiet splash and hush… but
The shadowy boy just flew away
With his bag of teethy teeth
And his brushy brush

Up! Up! He soared into the clouds
And spread the teeth by hand
Along the shoreline beaches
To drift amongst the sands

No map or bottle holds one clue
When beachcombers come to seek
And dream of secrets beneath
Their towels or toasted feet

Every now and then a curious sort
Might bend way down and squint,
“What’s in your bag, there, little boy?
Perhaps a tiny hint?”

No, no, he waves his finger, no!
He will not tell, and anyway, besides…
Only he knows, and know he well
Where all the sharks’ teeth hide.

But always on a cloudless night
When midnight moonlight slips around
(And he may be there tonight!)
He points out to the deepest spots
Where the beefy sharks do bite
And whispers through his sharky smirk,
“Only I know where the sharks’ teeth lurk.”

Jeff Bender