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Cetacea

I think you are a kind of whale.

Solitary giant, gentle beast,
you feast on seawater
and storms. You croon
to the barnacles that cling
to your belly and try
and try to love them,
pockmarked and ruptured
though they may be.

You have been poached for them,
prey creature, ocean queen,
lacerated and scarred by
harpoon barbs and propeller blades,
the tongues in the mouths
of the people who birthed you
into the black jewel of the sea.
They have churned you
into a mad eyed migration
towards the sand bars.

You are an entire species endangered
and I keep expecting to come home
and find you’ve beached yourself,
that you writhe helpless on wet sand,
grit sticky with sea slime and tangled kelp,
that you drown yourself on air
and give yourself up
to wait for the black market men
with their buckets and knives sharpened
to carve out the precious parts of you.

You are too great for that.

I would break my bones
trying to haul you back into the sea.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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