Watching the Oregon Whale

1A hard gray wave, her fin, walks out on the water
2that thickens to open and then parts open, around her.
4into and out of green light in the depth she has spun
5through the twenty-six fathoms of her silent orison,
7Beads of salt spray stop me, like metal crying.
8Her cupped face breathes its spouts, like a jewel-wet prong.
10down through my life in the making of her difference,
11fixing my mouth, with the offerings of silence,
13where ocean's hidden bodies twist fathoms around her,
14making her green-fed hunger grow fertile as water.

Notes

3] delved: turned up. Back to Line
6] krill: tiny shrimp-like crustaceans "of the order Euphausiacea" (Oxford English Dictionary). Back to Line
9] cormorant: large, voracious black sea-bird. barnacle path: a course that clings to the whale as closely as barnacles, crustaceons, adhere to ships and other objects in the water by their fleshy footlike stalk. Back to Line
12] whale-road: an Old English kenning, "ocean." Back to Line
Publication Notes: 
Calendars (Dorset, Vermont: Tupelo Press, 2003): 8. Cornell University Library OLIN PS 3556
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Special Copyright: 

<b>This poem cannot be published anywhere without the written consent of Annie Finch or Tupelo Press permissions department.</b>