Suzanne Underwood Rhodes
the water moves by strange
power, keeps a steady pace
as it strings the sky along.
White flocks graze
on innocent blue.
It carries the trees and a boy's tossed twig,
streams past osprey nests now emptied
and travels all the way to sea
where the dead don't stay long,
renounced by a fecund anarchy
and rolled to shore, fetid and gleaming.
I saw a whale like that, a juvenile humpback
jarred from course by naval sonar
and slashed by a propeller,
the stillborn entrails loosed from the wound.
Its fins were studded with barnacles,
its black majesty striped white.
I took in the fog planet of its eye,
the impossible girth of silence
that once was song. The waves
kept thrashing the world where I stood
as if rage could ever thwart the force
aborting and aborting.