White Gladis, Gladis Clara, Gladis Filabres, Gladyi Tarij,
and White Gladis’s mother Lamari,
call, click, whistle, breech, tail slap, mill
in Gibraltar Strait as if to savor the sea,
which is itself, and also cause of itself, and result—
calm as if for centuries this night when Pliny
wrote Orca eats Balaena, and distressed
as beasts of waves and waves of beasts bust keel,
rudder, and hull, if a sailboat crosses here.
In the northwest’s Puget Sound, an orca juvenile—
fish-eating southern resident
pod—began the swimming with dead salmon on their heads
like helmets, in mirth or unkind jest.
Or just because and no precedent.
Naked Tilikum, in the naked sea before dawn
became Dawn risen on his head crown,
swam small circles, an audience gasping.
Another day he tore Dawn down.
Horrible quiets rise, rise. Can’t it be good?
Imagination sees dorsal and dorsal,
our world thrown like the foolish seal,
or orca veering as brains veer—
salt, air, fin, wake over and over to unlearn fear.
In a land of fire in fiery weather
near a sand mound, fire ants
consume a worm whose body writhes and bristles.
Soon the worm will be more ant than worm,
ingesting the ants that’ll eat it alive.
What an awful metaphor, awful surprise. . . .
waves of ants with their red blades
rise, rise. Oh, widening equator, oh.