Body of the Whale


Body of the Whale



Burnt, engraved

slipped for weeks walking on

a shallow incline. I could not choose

my steps or wear anything but out-worn shoes.

I could only be this one way and pray

I was not being deceived.


After many falls and aching ankles,

thumb-joints, landing-joints,

and my tears in constant flow, I decided not to move,

stay as a sunken root, let the mud flood

around me, driving me deeper into the stench.


Fears like a cord tied to my feet, tugging me down where even

undulation ceased and it was cold and simple, without cause

or mercy or chance of escape.


I am at the bottom, somehow still myself.

There are strange translucent reptiles brushing

at my extremities. No way to eat and no breath left to be had,

under here in this lightless territory, not much different

than the depths of space, than the place I was first born.


But there, I was one with the darkness, and the stillness of void

was tender, womb-like, all I knew. I will find that again here,


stop resisting, diffuse, painfully, but with the least amount

of rebellion or horror – dissolve like candy floss in a child’s

mouth until I join the blank weight digestive track,

welcome the bottom feeders and the algae pocket swirls

as my own flesh, until there is nothing left of me

but this indent bed,

the space inside this bed that keeps my body. And soon

even that will fold over, coalesce, as though it never was.


I was a daughter. I am not anymore. I was waiting

on a personal love, rescue like a clean wave coming to

liquidate my mind. I am not waiting anymore.

I have no strength for hope, no heart

to withstand the hurt.

I break a part and I gather, honouring

the end of my pulse and its reign.



© 2018 by Allison Grayhurst



Published in “Along the Way: A Contemporary Poetry Anthology” December 2018



Published in “The Blue Nib, Issue 24” March 2018



Published in “Chicago Record Magazine” March 2018



You can listen to the poem by clicking below:



One response to “Body of the Whale

  1. Pingback: Body of the Whale – The Militant Negro™

Leave a ReplyCancel reply