Whale Poem

Whether the whale piloted

by Christen Thomas

It wasn't clear to the Islanders

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.