They called it her tour of grief,
the path of the Orca carrying her dead calf
through the Salish Sea
for seventeen days while we, the human
audience, couldn’t look away.
this kind of killer
might feel what only we could
designate in language
how she won’t let go,
how she is still holding on,
and then the slow sinking
diminished body finally dropped
to nowhere. For seventeen days
after my daughter was born,
no one permitted me to carry her
home. In a room dark as water, I tracked
the science of her on a screen—pulse
oximetry, waveform, breathing
machine. Was it clinging or song:
How one body nourished
another, became a sudden source.
How the sky hung above,
a circular horizon,
then blood of a stranger
moved through her.
To float or to fall.
How I probed the seabed desperate
for lucent transmissions of hope.