choose one thing in the world
to fix, to right one wrong.
I’d save the whales, the ones
so done with their wandering
that they use the tide’s muscle
to ram themselves onto sand.
I’d tell them to look past
the bottomless dark
they spend their lives
rising and falling through,
staring into caverns so deep
even their brains, the largest
in the world, can’t fathom
why sunlight surrenders
to the pressure of cold, yet
some life still thrives there,
and I’d tell them not to give up
on us either, swaddled in oxygen,
though we fill the seas
with microplastics, troll
the channels of every last
plankton until salt
is the only thing whales taste,
but even at their end,
laid out on a sandbar
with gravity’s full weight
collapsing their lungs,
there will almost always
be someone dousing them
with a bucket, roping
them to a tug boat
or waiting silently
with a chainsaw, weeping
what mercy demands.