The news is still falling
in our kitchen
like invisible rain
as we eat the pink salmon,
the lettuce, the mashed potatoes.
Because now everything
glistens. The candles, the soft
folds of red napkins
each in its place,
as though it all were sacred—
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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.
Sally Bliumis-Dunn is the author of Second Skin (Wind Publications, 2010) and Talking Underwater (Wind Publications, 2007). She teaches at Manhattanville College and lives in Armonk, New York.