Rasping blood, his tongue
reddened brine with grief—the whale’s belly,
a black garden of pleasure
isn’t hell. We brought hell inside him.
His huge heart’s piping gourd
tapered still, slow warbles
washed from his crimson throat.
We, his murderers, mourn
for the deep bullet, dark loaf
of the sea, his stomach crammed
with 88 pounds of grocery sacks,
rice bags, the floating thunder
of waste in time, consumes us.
When oil creams from sliced tankers,
tides reeking fishbones roll
hurricanes on city coasts,
we, Ahab-mad apes, learn the ocean
is not an object, but a covenant.
The world, like the whale, stops breathing
one day, humanity condemned
to the same extinction of all species.
Schoolyard winds won’t heave
child’s laughter, our kisses rancid
in bitter clay, our lips
shut under brown and sour grass.
The whale and the world must be loved
like a mother to her newborn
resurrecting meaning from the dead
if Earth’s blue turning can sing.
Eric Fisher Stone lives in Ames, Iowa as a third year MFA candidate in creative writing and the environment at Iowa State University. His poems have appeared in journals such as “The Hopper,” “Measure,” and others, including “Poets Reading the News” in 2017. His first full length collection of poems, “The Providence of Grass” was published by Chatter House Press in 2018.