Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Sally Bliumis-Dunn : Echolocation

The whales can’t hear each other calling 
in the noise-cluttered sea: they beach themselves.
I saw one once—heaved onto the sand with kelp
stuck to its blue-gray skin. 
Heavy and immobile,
 
it lay like a great sadness.
And it was hard to breathe with all the stink.
Its elliptical black eyes had stilled, were mostly dry,
and barnacles clustered on its back 
like tiny brown volcanoes.
 
Imagining the other whales, their roving weight,
their blue-black webbing of the deep, 
I stopped knowing how to measure my own grief.
And this one, large and dead on the sand,
with its unimaginable five-hundred-pound heart.

Copyright 2018 Sally Bliumis-Dunn. From Echolocation by Sally Bliumis-Dunn. MadHat Press/Plume Editions March, 2018.

A humpback whale washed ashore dead in Corolla, Virginia (Karen Clark, The Virginian-Pilot)

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