whale :: donika ross

Know, first, that she does not remain
behind the baleen forever.

Know, too, that the whale is unaware
of the woman drowning on its tongue.

And knowing this, recall the keening,
the slow build of sound in the body;

that we were afraid and pressed our fear
low in our breast, held it alongside our breath;

that the tenor of our grief matched,
so nearly, the tenor of our hysteria;

how finally there was no whale
or breath or sound or woman;

how, finally, there was only the body,
rising through the water toward the sun.