Wednesday, June 02, 2021

The Doubts

They come in delicately, like shrimp,
their antennae forming long and graceful curves,
their expressions undecipherable. These are the doubts.
They move slowly, seemingly without intention,
but they crowd until the panic starts to rise.

Is it the opaqueness of the eyes, or the stiffness?
Or maybe the capacity for suffering, beyond
mammalian imagination? They die in multitudes
when the waves go bronze, and the sea's skin
is a rocking shell of copper colored plates.
They die without objection, quiet to the last,
not rushing even then. And the sun goes down.
Evening brings the smell of their decay.

You asked me once to tell about the whales
still in the deep places, untroubled. So I did.
I had a voice that persuaded then: I was young
and believed in victory. Far out to sea and far below,
I said, they are moving, huge and slow, older than us,
older than time, waiting us out. They know places still
that we do not. At last you fell asleep,
exhausted by fear and wretchedness: but I lay awake
and all night the stars picked their way across the sky.

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