The Winter Whale
It is winter when I find the body.
Frost swirled across the thick skin like
remnants of some burial rite, hard
and beautiful. The very edge
of the ocean partially frozen,
crunchy and lace-like, a phenomenon
I loved because it rarely happened,
like my father crying.
My father was nothing
like a whale. He had big hands
but he was not a big man. He was
neither gentle, nor quiet.
He didn’t sing; he wasn’t good
at mourning. He was not
a strong swimmer. But the whale
sings about my father
as if they knew each other.
Someone else might mistake it
for the wind, but I have walked miles
of beaches in winter and wondered
if Heaven might be a beach
connecting many oceans.
I have heard all the pitches
of the wind. My father was a lot more
like the rocks the whale’s body
had been dragged over
by the waves. It wasn’t so much
their fault, the song says,
as they just happened to be there.
©2018 by Crystal C. Karlberg
Crystal C. Karlberg is a writer and middle-school teacher who lives with her family North of Boston. She graduated from The Creative Writing Program at Boston University.