An absence in the sea

It was a lonely place—

The wind gagged my mouth with each stroke of the oars,

Rasping my voice, and the waves

Blinding me with salt; the lives of others before me

Whaled in it, blowholes no longer breathing.


I tasted the malignity of the chase,

A black death,

The unction of lamps,

They had an efficiency, a dark glow,

And were a necessity— tortured whales.


There was only one sanctuary,

Ice flow, simmering depth,

The whale road narrowed into a cold.

And the flares almost betrayed them—

Bright light, closing on shadows,


Like holes in a night sky.

The absence of clicking, a vacancy;

The icy light was staggering,

The whale thicket quiet

Squatting in a white ocean.


I felt a still sea, a passing.

I felt callused hands, dull, blunt,

Rigging sails no more.

How the end awaited them,

Waited like widows walks.


And me too, had a relationship with the sea—

Taut line between pole and water,

Fish too scarce now, all in a silver can

Sliding in oil waiting for a pan fry,

Their absence killing me also.


Copyright © 06/24/18 lance sheridan®
An abscence in the sea


8 comments on “An absence in the sea

  1. Barbara Kasey Smith says:

    Intense, interesting, magnificent images, a canvas of suffering but succeeding! Great!

  2. Linda Moon says:

    Vivid emotions of suffering in need of survival…

  3. You should watch the Nature program “Killers in Eden” if you get the chance. It tells the haunting story of how orcas cooperated with Australian whalers.

  4. Candia says:

    Liked the kenning imagery. Thanks for following my posts too. See you soon.

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