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