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Sample from Whale 52
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News and Events

By Brian Weilert

As I lean over the bow of the ship

Wind wrestling with my hair

My eyes narrowed and moist

I watch the ocean split

Pushing a pod of dolphins

Segregating them to one side

Or the other

Playful they

Surf the wave


Sounds of laughter

At times

They turn to their sides

Eying me

I feel compelled to respond

So I wave


In my other hand

Clenched tight

A wadded letter


I look to a horizon

Interrupted by lazy swells

Forecasting an

Impending storm


In the shifting clouds

I see my sister


I have been at sea

Too long


My sister came as a surprise

When I was already fifteen

My parents

Scratching out a living on

Too few acres

Had more important things to do

Farming is

A silent world

For a child

A lot of playing alone

Creating fantasy worlds

With stones, sticks and soil

Seen but not heard


She was three

Before we knew she was deaf


No one knows how old

Whale 52 is

The year was 1989

When its 52 hertz cry was heard

For the first time

About the same as a note on a tuba

But still too high for others

Of its kind to hear

Blue whale 10-39 hertz

Fin whale 20 hertz

A sound wave traversing the expanse

Of the ocean

Begging for a response

Only to pass by


A shadow on a cloudy day


We didn’t have money

No special school

Or special lessons

For my sister

When the closest town

Has the population

Of your bank balance

And the closest city

Is the distance of your debt

Treatment for ailments

Usually involved

Rubbing a little mud on it


The whale travels alone

Not in the same pattern as others

Calling and calling for companionship

Confused as to why no one pays attention




Mom speculated she was slow

Maybe retarded

Hidden behind the

Bottom-stair banister late one night

I heard her actually say it out loud.



Some speculate Whale 52 has never

Seen another whale

Too much space

Planetary dust in the expanse of the universe

But others believe

There had to be chance encounters

That had not gone well

52 was just too different to be included

Some speculate Whale 52 if deaf

Some speculate Whale 52 is a hermaphrodite

Speculate malformed

Speculate a hybrid

Speculation is what we do with the unknown

As if it gives us some sort of control


When I was 18

I left home

Wandering my way to the coast

Escaping as far as I could

Leaving land

Casting off

As a deck hand


I never returned


My sister would have turned 11

This year


Some whales live over 100 years

The hertz frequency of 52’s song

Has lowered over time

Indicating age


The letter

Penned in my mother’s hand

Was short and to the point

Come home

We think we have a location on 52

We so badly want to find

And befriend this lone-ancient soul

How maddening

To never have companionship

A family

A friend

A lover

Solitude for a century

Longing for a century

Wanting it to end

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