The lone baleen circles and circles, water sprite at home
in the lagoon off the bay, having lost her way North.
So thin, so weak, her knob head rising every minute
to catch a breath.
I stand waiting for her breach, for fins to slap the surface
sheen, for a burst of blowhole spray. I am afraid she may
beach, join other ghosts hugging the breast of the coast,
language of grief upon me even before the loss.
I daydream dancing at water’s edge, feet slippered in sand,
balancing en pointe between sea and sky, ocean spray
joining in on the buoy’s song.
Sun is about to set itself down as day begins to blur, nosy
moon poking its nose through scattering clouds.
A train sounds its horn across the distant square. A car alarm
goes unheeded at the curb. Rippling waves lap the shore,
lick the weathered dock.
The whale rises again and again, slaps, sprays, circles,
circles, and circles yet again.
Butterflies flirt milkweed. Honey bees buzz poppies.
Their wings, their perpetual evanescence, a performance
in pirouettes skittering off stage behind drawn curtains
ballooning in day’s last breath of wind.
by Andrena Zawinski, first appeared in Drifting Sands (Origami Poems Project microchap)
Editor’s Note: Zuihitsu is a Japanese genre that loosely connects imagery and fragments, and this poem holds true to that idea. Each stanza exists on its own, but it isn’t until the reader reaches the end that the resonance of the whole poem sounds.