Beached Whale, Terrebonne Parish, 2016

Hard to imagine what drew the young
bull sperm inland through Sister Lake

south of Dularge. No squid to chase toward the beach,
no pod to follow into the cove, only shallow,

slow water and sand to hold its weight. I’d love
to believe something in the line of trees along

the coast stoked its primal heart. How golden
it would be if the whale’s old kin walked past

trees like ours into their first salt water. So much
better to hold that dream than know the whale

swam in, dizzy from the water’s heat, drunk
on bacteria, or gobs of loose oil, unwilling to accept

the gift of open Gulf and long, deep breaths.