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Learning How to Breathe
Balaena mysticetus

by Joel Vega


What massive bony skull I have to use
to break ice drifting in these waters. I am the slowest swimmer,
I cannot dive deep. I travel alone, northwards.

The herds have left me, far ahead they drift to Chukchi,
the breach in ice providing direction. Now, I have none,
only the repetitive songs of mating will save me.

But I will reach you even if spring ends and the waters turn
I will reach for air even if it  comes in short painful starts.
I will feed on copepods,

without need for a heart.
I will thrive in this carbon world,

close to the surface,
learning how to breathe
slowly and apart.

© Joel Vega


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