ishmael (Mark Roberts)

coming at dawn
to swim in the ocean baths
they find a dead whale
half the size of the pool
floating like a cut puppet
fins & tail tugged
by waves breaking
over weathered concrete walls
one old swimmer who has come
to these baths for years declares
“i’m not sharing my lane with that!”
there remains the discussion
of how to remove tons
of dead whale
without destroying the pool
before swimming pools
such a stranding
would trigger a celebration
that would last for weeks
food for everyone
huge fires on the beach
spears treated with whale blubber
bones broken up for tools and shelter.
now we wait for cranes
& chain saws
whale cut to truck size pieces
& dumped in landfill.

Mark Roberts has been writing and publishing since the 1980s and currently runs Rochford Street Press, P76 Magazine and Rochford Street Review.