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The End

RIP the 163 orcas who have died in captivity at marine parks. 

No one knows what plays in the mind’s dark theater,  

when ropeshold you afloat at the end.  

What song-worm hums  

a motionless whale body: mating trills,  

eager tenor of takeaway ships, 

or mother’s cries because mothers cry  

like animals for young ones lost. No one knows  

what taste lingers in the mouth’s recall: herring 

or blood ribboning through 

the red knotted thread—Don’t remember me,  

but ah! Remember my fate.  

At the end, the flukes reflex to furl, unfurl. 

It’s called the last swim. Then through the portal, 

a dream, a shimmering that follows mother 

to blue-out depths, beyond spout-smoke rising  

beneath the ink-spilled moon 


Vivian Eyre is a Rhode Island-based poet, and the author of the poetry chapbook, To the Sound (Finishing Line Press). Her poems have been published or will soon appear in literary journals such as The Massachusetts Review, The Fourth River, Moon City Review, Pangyrus, The Buddhist Poetry Review, Quiddity, Bellingham Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Permafrost, Spoon River Poetry Review as well as translated in Italian. She was a finalist for the Dorothy Daniels Award, and a semi-finalist for Calyx’s Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize. A former judge of the North Fork’s annual student Poetry for Peace Project, Vivian leads poetry workshops in recreation centers, libraries and museums. She served as the guest curator for the Southold Historical Society’s Whale House, and rescue volunteer for cold stun sea turtles on the shores of Long Island.

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