“Whale Migration” by Lauren Reynolds


A sick woman,
she always wanted
to go on that cruise
to Alaska to see the whale
migration.
She would go alone,
she swore.
She wouldn't take
her daughter,
her only daughter,
whom the grandeur of such
an experience was sure to be
lost on.

The whales invite her,
‒without words
they say something to her
in echoes.
The shoals of fish
glassing the water,
glitter in her
wind-up mind.

She is a product
of her time,
the whales will say.
They'll shake their heads
and watch her drink
her box of wine.

Closing her eyes,
she sends their words
into the deep.
She is broken, partly.
Disease has curled her up.
She will wilt
into her own
cigarette smoke.
She will crackle up
like a leaf
on fire.
Their sex is dazzling.
It swirls in underwater
spells. Magicians
of the sea.
As two ex-husbands would attest,
no sex of hers
ever healed
like the sound
of a whale's longing
which, is real
because it is not filtered
through fast-food dinners,
through cars, the pretty linen
frames of clothes,
alimony checks, or boats.
Boats that take you,
wholly,
to these places,
places we want
to become.