Like a whale, my cry

Something frozen is falling from the sky.
In Mumbai, the unthinkable.

I am you.
Between us is an illusion of separateness.

So easy to take for granted the ones we love
and to write off the ones we don’t even know.

Like a whale, I nurse my young.
Like a whale, I push my baby up to the surface
every four minutes, teach her to breath,
do everything I can
to guarantee her a future.

But the seas are rising, the ice melting,
the jellyfish, strangely transparent, encroaching,
the manatees dying
the bush burning
the days numbered
the hours precious,
and the penguins so much smaller than you expect.

Like a whale, my cry
pierces these deep waters.

My father called today.
He left a brief message:
“Call me when you get a chance. There’s something I want to talk to you about.”
I felt like a child, sure I was in trouble.
I felt remorseful for my lack of gratitude.
My sullenness and agitation.
I felt like I might throw up.
I called him back.
He asked me the name of those socks Greg likes from EMS.

Last night,
I cried.
I whispered to Greg in the darkness
on the living room floor,
tried to describe how transparent my soul felt,
like a membrane,
slippery, exposed, unprotected.

I can’t write about Mumbai or polar bears or genocide.
These are too big, too distant.

But to look into a dolphin’s eye
and see myself –
to reveal, for a few fleeting dark moments,
something so guarded and scared –
these I can do.

We have been here for 200,000 years.
This is a brief experiment.

To say to you, I have seen the truth,
would this sound lofty and preposterous?
What I mean is simple, honest, unassuming,
and unfathomably beautiful.
How could love be anything but this?

Posted in: Uncategorized

3 thoughts on “Like a whale, my cry

  1. GailNHB says:

    Beautiful words, Jena.
    Beautiful response, Karen.

    It is so simple: love, hug, whisper, hang on.
    Then surrender, listen, receive, be transparent.

    Feel the slipperiness, the exposed nature of it all, how unprotected we are. The illusion was that there was protection or exemption or immunity. No, we are all in this soup of life together. Distant or together, we feel it. We know it. We have been given a chance to live, to laugh, to love, and to weep. Together.

    It is beautiful and difficult and exactly what it ought to be. Right here and right now.

    Oh, yeah – she’s coming home. Today we hope. Tomorrow at the latest. Glory be!


  2. Shelli says:

    I’ve been gone too long. Your words are beautiful as always. I have gotten messages from my father like that and felt the same way!



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