whether the whale piloted
in pursuit of death,
or chased in a school of fish
until beached on the reef.
And though it might have chosen
suicide over surrender,
on a rock where lives were carved from the land,
life was fought for and not let so freely go.
A scraped fin appeared
on a hawk-eyed, mid-morning stroll
during a Spring tide
under the remnants of Cosmo's moon.
Fifteen men, wives and child
waded and laid water over
the seal-scratched belly of the beast.
Hand stitched family quilts
were submerged and draped across
the whale's sea-rubber skin.
It gathered in and passed air,
shuddered against tossed offerings of brine,
raised a glistening eye to second-hand survival.
By the immersion suited crew, the creature
was netted beneath and pulled to the sea
when the tide returned to the beach.
Off-kilter, careening like a junkyard truck
the fins rightened themselves
and with the wake of the tale,
broken water, rebirth.