I sat down on what I think to be Mimi’s bed
and my Uncle Chris tells me a story about a whale.
He, on the sand, sees a mountain
unearthed. A coastline blemish or a
God’s body, a miracle.
There are rocks scattered on the bed
like rolled dice and shattered glass
all black smokey lung in pebble and
wet eyes bringing life to bodies
that should not budge
Whale Fact: There is a lot of dispute amongst marine biologists about the cause of beachings [see listicle “12 Possible Reasons Why Whales Beach Themselves” on whalefacts.org].
Reaching out to touch the skin of it,
all lather and leather,
and finding out it is cold
like porcelain piling up
in the sink, long tired
chip tooth family recipe
Whale Fact: Some whales are beached after military sonar destroys their ability to navigate and hemorrhages their ears.
My uncle builds a home out of the thing.
A bellied house with a ribcage
canopy like a celestial hold. Granite
lifeless arms swaying to rest,
eyelids drunkenly dancing,
canals plugged with sand
Whale Fact: Some whales are beached after following dolphins into waters that are too shallow. Y’know—big fish, small pond?
Whale Fact: Some beached whales ask their bodies be decimated by government sanctioned explosion.
A knock on the door tells us that the whale must go.
He warns me not to touch the broken glass,
but I do anyway. It kisses my blushing fingers goodbye
The carcass was taken
a natural history museum plainly exchanged
enough money to make a grown man cry
over a body that was never his to own
My uncle wipes the sand from his eyes
with a black tie that hangs heavy
under his chin. He smiles, wheatgrass
lodging between his baleen veneers
and for the first time, I see the resemblance
There’s something I want to ask you
Do flies live very long?
I ask because when I rolled over out of my bed
there was a fly in my place, still
in the same sleep as me
except it was dead
My mother’s sister puts on soup to boil
puts a raisin in the microwave.
“It’s good for your ear,” she says,
I didn’t know her at all
apart from nighttime and
goat eyed wicker fingers creaking ironed
in pleats breaking towards the table
“Will it be the usual? For both of you.” And,
as if she wove herself from her sister's spittle,
smiling and wet-eyed at the waiter, whispering,
“when the soup is on, I can see her in the broth,
crackling baskets like hot raisins on Santa Cruz tile
and long bowls of butter in black and white”
a magician never reveals his secrets but I tucked every buttery daisy that i picked out from my pores into my shirtsleeves so they could kiss your neck when i brushed your hair. i’m not going to pretend the tiger came from the iron cage so i’ll leave it at this when i laid down into the table and saw myself in two it was both of us but mostly me. you were never the volunteer and I know it’s not for everyone but they’ll ask you how you can believe if you’ve never been the one to pull the rabbit out of the hat and you’ll say something about the vanishing and knowing that it’s not really gone or how the jack of clubs is never going to be your card but i keep him drawing anyway