Collateral Damage

Betsy Hughes

Driftnets stretching, reaching wide and deep,
gather mammals in expansive swoops.
Sharks and dolphins thrashing in upsweep
are tangled, maimed, and choked by lines and loops.
When brought aboard, they are discarded, tossed.
Rare turtles and endangered species bleed
their red into the blue, forever lost,
the brutal bycatch of commercial greed.
Along the California coast, the quest
for swordfish casts a web of wanton waste.
This trawling practice snatches all the rest,
drags living beings in haphazard haste.
When fisheries fling forth their walls of death,
sea creatures large and small must gasp for breath.