I knew two boys
who drank too much and swore
off girls for a summer
claiming they were too bitchy
that the sea was better company
So they took a little boat out and
went fishing on moony nights when
the water runs slack and they could
smoke and drink and watch
the phosphorescence skitter through the waves.
One night late August when the heat
was heavy and silent a whale came
and startled them from their sleep
of warm beer and stale tobacco.
The creature swam near the bow
and shook its tail rubber-black
as the boys sat still, their fishing poles
gripped tightly in hand.
Water slid over the sides and into the boat,
their boots got soaked straight through.
The hump back then made its way
towards the rip tide breaching and heaving a deep
sigh from its blowhole which seemed to carry
all the sorrow of the world in its tremor.
When the boys returned to shore
they didn;t speak, the only sound
was the belly of the boat
being dragged over sand as they carried her
up to rest near the dunes.
Summer turned to Fall
and the boys found some nice girls
and went out with them most nights
forgetting the little putter boat
and the night they saw the whale
the night they touched the center of the earth
and felt its great sadness and wonder
tremble in their small chests.