The Seal

That year, four and twenty
seals washed up on the shore
poisoned by algae. We found
a suede-brown female, yet swinging
her muscular throat as if to warn
what was left of her world-
nature is large and unforgiving.

Wider now, the horizon, bleak,
surprised and evenly matched
by her petition- like the jawbone
of some great, dessicated whale
opening and closing to the rhythm
of sea, stared back and agreed
this was not beauty, this ending,

this slow and graceless breach
from living. When her body became
an emptied shell and her eyes,
startled and dark and frozen
as a forest deer- we buried her
in a mound of stones and left
her there.

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