by Maureen E. Doallas

I am waiting, hope-
ridden on the darkest day
of the year.

This morning, in the wash
of green-foamed sea, the bloated
body of a fin whale lists, hushing

the pod’s fracturing echolocation.
The water, displaced, barely
conceals the gray-boned back,

so that I, adjusting my prayer
shawl that cannot be stretched
enough to cover

the living and what’s dying,
wait for some sign
its last great breath still holds.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: On the first day of winter, I happened upon an image of a huge, stranded, and listing fin whale. The association of darkness with death, which the image seemed to evoke, was apt; yet, in this season of hope-filled waiting, I allowed myself to consider the possibility that the animal remained alive.

IMAGE: “Orca” by Tamara Phillips. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Maureen E. Doallas is the author of Neruda’s Memoirs: Poems (T.S. Poetry Press, 2011). Her work has appeared in Open to Interpretation: Water’s Edge, Open to Interpretation: Love & Lust, Oil and Water… And Other Things That Don’t Mix; Tania Runyan’s How to Read a Poem; and Felder Rushing’s book bottle trees. Her poems can be found at Broadsided Press (“Responses: Ebola 2014”), Split This Rock (“Poems that Resist Police Brutality & Demand Racial Justice”), Every Day Poems, The Woven Tale Press, The Found Poetry Review, The Victorian Violet Press & Journal, The Poetry Storehouse, Escape Into Life, and other online and print publications. She blogs at Writing Without Paper, is an Artist Watch editor for Escape Into Life, and has a small art business, Transformational Threads. Her interviews and features appear regularly at TweetSpeak Poetry.