Liz Breslin’s first poetry collection Alzheimer’s and a spoon is published by Otago University Press and listed in The NZ Listener’s 100 Best Books of 2017. She also writes plays, stories, reviews and a fortnightly column for the Otago Daily Times.
Denniston Glory Box
in the bottom drawer
in case he came
What do we do with stranded whales?
Race to the beach. Wear wetsuits. Bring
water and food, says the urgent News.
Carpool if you can. And we do.
Communities echolocate, drawn
to these creatures, suicidal
or navigationally challenged,
following the leader, caught
by receding tides. Majestical.
Helpless. We rub their rubbery
hides, cover them in cool cloths,
wet blankets, sing in an approximate
translation of one of their seven
languages. Dry each other’s hopeful
tears. Hug a vigil. Their weight. We wait.
What do we do with stranded people?