It shouldn’t surprise that an animal’s size
determines its voice’s timbre
or that too much regard for technique
loses the image that tricks presence
and absence, both honey-
dipped daggers. Speed up
a humpback song and a nightingale calls
in rounds, in codas, in fermatas
and repeats. Speed it up too much
and the rorqual disappears.
It took cetologists long
to discover that whales
croon in patterns, like humans do,
in different pace and pitch,
learn songs line by line,
verse by verse. Like the Vedas
or Bible verses I’ve memorized
now lain as sunbaked brick,
still, unmoving, unlike
deep music’s liquid. What poetry
have I missed, missing the silk
for the worm, filling
my cetacean-cello chest
with the mud of naming; damning
with the noise of repetition
my own quickly beating sea.
You broke my brain.
Please Note: Before submitting, copy your comment to your clipboard, be sure every required field is filled out, and only then submit.