Whales of Summer – a poem by Emily-Sue Sloane

Whales of Summer
Miles out past Cape Cod’s last curl of coastline, 
the whales of summer belly up 
to an underwater banquet,
marked on maritime maps 
as Stellwagen Bank.
The giants surface with exhaled blows
and open-jawed feasts 
of plankton and krill scooped up 
amid tons of water sifted and spat 
past brushy baleen filters.
Flocks of canny seabirds 
track the pungent smell,
circle and land in the gaping hangars
to pluck a pilfered meal,
squawking their good fortune.
The whales flirt with tourists, wave fins, 
flash flukes revealing singular designs
that naturalists recognize and greet by name.
Humpbacks propel their huge hulks into the air
before inhaling and diving into the deep. 
The whales leave footprints 
on the surface, flat circles that widen 
and slowly surrender to the chop. 
In gobsmacked silence, all eyes stare 
into the distance, casting hope upon the waters.

Emily-Sue Sloane (emilysuesloane.com) lives in Huntington Station, NY.  Her work has appeared in journals and anthologies, including Amethyst Review; Corona, a Walt Whitman Birthplace anthology; Front Porch Review; Shot Glass Journal; The Long Island Quarterly; and Boston Literary Magazine. Writing helps her appreciate life, especially in a pandemic.

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