Black and sleek as steely-eyed
deacons, ascetic and aloof,
disdain the jostling waves, riding
peaks and troughs, placid as flatirons.
upends and disappears a full
minute or more, some fifty yards
Preying and gorging, they float fastidious,
always unruffled, unperturbed
Though half-submerged they do aspire.
Persuaded finally into flight
they gather speed
and skip tiptoe on wave tips like
flat stones flung side-arm from the shore,
Full bellies when they would be light
belie the anorexic pose,
rob them of grace.
With difficulty they enter heaven,
rise and take dominion, running
2000; originally printed in Pivot.
permission of the author.