To the Whale That Swims Beside Me

Your eye’s an aperture to the unnamed

and far away from its orphaned twin,

so what should I choose to receive my appeal—

the fathomless one, or the one on the left?


Never mind. Daylight has fled like minnows,

the white of your eye is a gibbous moon

that’s taking in the foolishness of me

and silent returns, unblinking as death.


Is there time to beg your infinite eye

for mercy for frivolous whale-boned gowns

and busk-bone ivory carved scrimshaw

and for every lamp lit by your flesh?


There are so many other sins I could name,

all of them rancid as days-old fish.

I think about jawbones, think of harpoons

as nouns from an unforgivable past.


I’m afraid I’ll drown in your bottomless spell

and in the mess I’ll obscure the profound:

They say you’re beginning, we are the end,

and in terms of benevolence we’re bereft.


But before I leave, can you soften your eye,

can we rise above the inglorious past,

the blubber of human selfishness?

I see. Now I wake alone and emerge

from your terrible ocean, gasping for breath.






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