I. Inside the Whale’s Head (from "The Gray Whale")

We climb to get there, to what seems
only rock or rubble from a distance.
My friends want to play,
but I’m new to the coast, still afraid
of what comes with the waves, undulating—
the long strands of kelp, sea palms
and weeds, whatever curls in on itself.
  It must have known it could not go back
  to fluid motion and grace, even as it
  rose from the deep, gave its bulk to the tide.

I like this. We can see so well the whale surrendering to the ocean. -Rachel T.

  I was inland when it beached. I didn’t witness
  the passage of breath, the souvenir hunters,
  the mourners. My friends saw
  the helicopter lifting it in pieces.
No one warned me about this.
Above the sea now, it bakes in the sun

interetsing verb to describe what happens to the whale’s corpse. -Eskira K.

—flesh gone to the air, the rest
growing into the earth. We walk

Whale bones growing into the dirt seems true. -Patty S.

the length of the spine in our small shoes,
we touch the stumps of its bones, we circle
the jaw, we give away our words.

Another amazing line! Giving away words is like talking. -Patty S.

  I am nothing when I stand inside its head.

could not be said better; it seems so true; its rhythm perfect. -Patty S.
Even with the whale dead, she can still feel its awesomeness. -Rachel T.

Santa Cruz, California

Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.