By the end of the walk I wanted a dead whale, would have settled for
a fisherman’s net and the idea of salvaging his lost catch.
Before that, only four or five seals, two gulls on their backs,
white feathers browned from dying, parts of fish
and sixteen torn and scattered skins from balloons, string-tied nubs,
orange and black, yellow and silver, see-through,
but a whale,
dead enough to see again and again, to carry away small parts in my
Boiling bedsheets, oysterous gray flesh,
the thrusting white sole of a fisherman’s boot—part of the fin (I
the scapula flaring next to boat-hull ribs, cream-colored, rinsed clean
through moiling hurling spoiling furling wave after wave.
Rush to it and halt
before the humping mass, the waterlogged bones, the brontosaural
Why don’t you take a camera to record your seals and your whales,
your carbuncled coracles, your storied whelks?
Tried that—it doesn’t capture the shear, the blunderous rift of
I sniffed at no smell beyond the smell of the sea
washed washing out the whale
returned returning to the sea.