Huge dashes in the sand, two or three
times a year they swim like words
in a sentence toward the period
of the beach, lured into sunning
themselves like humans do—
smothered in the absence
of waves and high tides.
[Pilot whales beach themselves] when their sonar
becomes scrambled in shallow water
or when a sick member of the pod
heads for shore and others follow
61 of them on top of the South Island
wade into Farewell Spit.
18 needed help with their demises
this time, the sharp mercy
of knives still the slow motion heft
of each ocean heart.
Yes—even those born pilots,
those who have grown large and graceful
lose their way, found on their sides
season after season.
Is it more natural to care
or not to care?
Terrifying to be reminded a fluke
can fling anything or anyone
out of this world.
Oh, the endings we swim toward
Mysteries of mass wrong turns, sick leaders
and sirens forever sexy
land or sea.
The unequaled rush
and horror of forgetting
Copyright © 2015 by Kamilah Aisha Moon. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.
begin long before you hear them and gain speed and come out of the same place as other words. They should have their own place to come from, the elbow perhaps, since elbows look funny and never weep. Why are you proud of me? I said goodbye to you forty times. I see your point. That is an achievement unto itself. My mom wants me to write a goodbye poem. It should fit inside a card and use the phrase, “You are one powerful lady.” There is nothing powerful about me though you might think so from the way I spit. I don’t want to say goodbye to you anymore. I heard the first wave was an accident. It happened in the Cave of the Hands in Santa Cruz. The four of them were drinking and someone killed a wild boar and someone else said, “Hey look, I put my hand in it. Saying goodbye is like that. You put your hand in it and then you take your hand back.
"Goodbyes" from The Book of Goodbyes copyright 2013 by "Jillian Weise," BOA Editions, Ltd., www.boaeditions.org.