Published on Academy of American Poets (

The Barnacle and the Gray Whale

                              Said the Barnacle,

You enchant me, with your carnival
of force.

Yours is a system of slow.

There is you, the pulley
and there is you, the weight.

Your eyes wide on a hymn.

Your deep song like the turn
of that first,

that earliest of wheels.

                              Said the Whale,

I have seen you, little encruster,
in that business of fouling the ships.

Known, little drum machine, you
to tease out food from the drink.

Little thimble of chalk and hard water.

You could be a callus of whiter skin.

You could be a knucklebone. You
who hang on me,

like a conscience.


Copyright © 2014 by Cecilia Llompart. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on February 28, 2014. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.

About this Poem

"This poem is the first in a series I wrote as coping mechanism during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010. What I thought would be downright angry poems turned out more dreamy, more fable-esque: dialogues between marine animals contemplating their vast and ancient world. It's a meditation on biological and spiritual interconnectedness, on a world less touched by man, and—in it's own way—also on deep love for all life."
—Cecilia Llompart


Cecilia Llompart

Cecilia Llompart is the author of The Wingless (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2014). She currently teaches freelance creative writing workshops and divides her time between the United States and France.

Date Published: 2014-02-28

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