A Tour of Grief

Did the whale think:

What if he dies today?

He, her companion

or elder or child.

What if he dies today?

Did she compensate

ahead of time for the loss

with more love than one

could pour into an ocean…

or was she as careless as us,

our heavy heads

so full of nonsense—

too preoccupied to consider

What if he dies today?

Could she stop time,

touch the moment, there:

I loved you.

I love you.

I will always love you.

before it cast her adrift

left to carry her grief

across the vast and endless

sea ahead.

Poem ©2018, Jen Payne. Inspired by the story of Tahlequah, see “Orca Mother Drops Calf, After Unprecedented 17 Days of Mourning”

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