Mary Ann Honaker is the author of It Will Happen Like This (YesNo Press, 2015) and Becoming Persephone (Third Lung Press, 2019). Her work has appeared in Calamus Journal, Drunk Monkeys, Euphony, Juked, Little Patuxent Review, Off the Coast, Rattle.com, Van Gogh’s Ear, and elsewhere, and has been nominated for a Pushcart prize. Mary Ann holds an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University. She currently lives in Beaver, West Virginia. https://maryannhonaker.wordpress.com/
Zippered into hoodies
against the chilly spray,
my husband and I clung
to the slick handrail.
The pod of whales swam
abreast of the ship, kept pace.
Perhaps they liked the breaking
open of a human face in joy,
all those little pearls lined up.
Their vastness must be felt–
just as you can’t capture awe
or depth in photos shot
from mountaintop. Surrounded
by sure and jocular intelligence,
we watched whales lift scarred tails
as we ran bow to stern, starboard
to port in scraggly gaggles,
just to view their backs arched
close to the spumy surface.
My husband, child-curious,
innervate, open as a buttercup,
made no attempt to be studious,
stern. He knew adulthood
a contrivance, had no use for it.
A photo of him seems as past-tense
as a monotone ink sketch of a whale.
Flattened like a fern fossil in shale,
there’s something lost, a miracle
made commonplace, too often
retold. Soon these beasts will mist
into the mythic, fogged over
by a scrim of years.
The people will say: once, I hear,
you were married. Once giants
frolicked in brine, and the ocean floor
bloomed like flowered fields in May.