23 June 2005

Carol Peters


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
      learned later)—
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

Take what?
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.


  1. I hear the complicated and precise "Clavicle" as I read. :) Nice, nice work. Oysterous. Brontosaural. Carry away small parts in my pocket.

  2. Bravo for sticking with it through so many versions. Glad you kept my favorite parts ( i al ready told you those) and added the inviting begining like we are a dog walking with you.