by Anna Sheppard
Some boys at school tell me
sound waves move faster
under water, but I know firsthand
that when blue whales sing,
it sounds like God is pouring molasses
down their vocal chords, that even
when the syrup fills their lungs,
their slow moans sound like more.
I used to think they had to have known
their limits to keep from throwing
their tombstone skin into aquarium glass
clear enough to be invisible,
but I know now that it must have been an accident
of fate or something else
I don’t believe in. I’ve seen the documentaries
where whales cross oceans with schools of fish
hidden under the umbrella of their stomachs, read articles
about the mother whale who’s lost her purpose
because her calf has grown too large
for her to protect. If only I could tell them
that just because their bones
are large enough to hold a home,
it doesn’t mean they have to become one.
Author Biography: Anna Sheppard is from the low country of South Carolina.
She currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina, where she studies creative writing
at the Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities. She enjoys Fleetwood Mac
and talking too much about her twin sister.