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  • Samantha Hoch

Salt of the Ecosystem

Updated: Nov 7, 2019

I remember when that baby whale died

and the mother mourned it for weeks.

I had a bird’s eye view.

Whales are some of the few species in nature

to maintain the matriarch’s status

beyond her child-bearing years.

Can you imagine

what it was like to mourn the death of an infant

while under media scrutiny?

You may remember the broadcast saying

They’re going to administer antibiotics.

I was there. It never happened.

The gravity of her presence overcame me

as the blue-black veil of her shadow

eclipsed the entire floor beneath me.

When she pushed that baby’s corpse

to the surface for air, I watched, flat footed

and wide eyed, on a tiny island far from shore.

Maybe you’ll recall the way the camera angle showcased

the breadth of the ocean

and its loss.

It wasn’t majestic. I mourned the

tragedy of that scene

and tasted the salt of her tears.

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