The Whale

He had to write about it. Two months later
he was dead. We discovered the notebook
and the page where the writing stopped.
We asked around. Others had seen him
rush over the dunes, across the wet sand
and circle the beached body for hours
scribbling notes. He returned each day.
We found descriptions from all angles,
how its flanks were contrasting shades,
immense baleen gaping in the heavy gravity,
blowhole exposed to the suffocating atmosphere,
seagulls pecking at its eyes, page after page
of spidery scrawl charting its decomposition,
how its organs blackened and liquefied,
lines about the stench, or sound and shape
of the swarms of flies, re-written or crossed out.
Then one day the curtains were drawn.
The doctor said:  “He was grey, refusing
to talk or take medicine or lift his pen,
suffering massive and bloody coughing fits”.


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