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ISSUE:  Spring 2016

The whale washed ashore. Its still
body lay for days—turning and turning
one new color after another. White,
then gray, black, blue, then a sort of white
again. The water barely skimmed
its bottom lip, mouth hung open
like a friendly doorway. The townies
took pictures inside its head captioned
“Jonah!” with a cursory smile and dot eyes
in their scrapbooks. Sprayed a bit
of paint on its walls. The flesh started
to funk, smelling beyond the boardwalk
that certain scent of ending. By then,
the townies had stopped with the visits,
their cameras, the peeking over
the brushy hills to check if it remained.
A few fishermen thought to push the fish
back in, let its husk—little house—disappear
into the mouths of thousands of other fish.
But their boats weren’t big enough and the nets
that tangled the whale to begin with were wasted.
The job required hours of digging, big trucks,
gravity. What was the whale rolled on its back
and they covered the belly with dirt.


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