I heard the right

whales from shore,

forty percent of the population

two hundred in the bay, more.


Spouts like iron

doors opening,

on the water, plumes twenty-

five, thirty, I stopped counting.


When I couldn’t see

the whales the sun

shone on their bodies,

like beacons


across the water.

The world had been

quiet enough for me.

I kept walking


to hear the whales

breathe, & then

this sound, what was it?

Beside the water a woman.


I heard the first thud,

then another,

thud thud

thud thud out there


What is that?

Is it the whales

coming down?

Their tails?

I hope it’s not


a war, she said

& it did sound

like shots fired,

or small bombs

dropped, thud again

as if now a war could

rise out of the ocean,


the white fog.

Here at the end

by water, a cold

land surrounded April.


One of four new calves

a girl found,

towed to shore

dead at midnight.


I’d walked out,

the water both of us

& I said no,

there in the near dusk,


it’s the whales, only

five hundred & twenty-five

worldwide still

hungry & alive.