by Lynne Hjelmgaard

If I were to choose a few moments
from the timeless drudgery at sea,
it would be the excitement,
of its arrival. 
The feeling of helplessness and awe;
to draw in its scent,
whose briny smell in the wild
seemed to contain every creature
who once lived and once died
on the seabed,
its long mournful breath.

I don't recall what it looked like
or how it came upon us,
a dark fin barely caught
in the corner of my eye,
like it wasn't meant to be caught
as we galloped along
crests of an abating swell,
in warm turquoise-green water,
sails tweaked to pick up speed.

It moved with a quick and steady grace,
seemingly out from underneath us,
leaving behind a cold turbulent wake
without so much as grazing the hull,
disappearing in seconds
into its own unfathomable longing.


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