Bio Note: Robbi Nester shelters in place in Southern California. She is the author of 4 books of poems and editor of three anthologies.
Why I Write About Whales
Again, the whales arrive, enormous, curious, breeching off the bow of the boat. At first, they are only a rumor, a buzz among the tourists, who have come all this way, braving sea sickness, and do not wish to be disappointed. Someone points to a spot among the grey waves like all the others, insists it’s a fluke, a fin, water and air geysering out of a blowhole. We lurch to the railing, tipping the ship a bit to the left, then return to our seats. It was just a breeze, not what we’d hoped. We wish we could meet eye to eye. I am sure whales feel the same about us, but they are too big and we are too small for such visitations. Maybe that’s why I hear them singing in my dreams, why they visit my poems, where I sing back.
In the Garden
After “To Dorothy,” by Marvin Bell
You’re my practical potato. sprawling out over the rocky earth. I might have sought a bird of paradise, lofty head standing high above the crowd. But you will nourish me long after their stalks have fallen, when the bright rose, in his pomp, has lost his petals. You have all the eyes I need, enough to sprout a garden, under the ground, in secret, where nobody but me will know. I go out there with my spade and hack away the roots, leaving a portion of the tuber. I couldn’t grow a weed, except by accident. Without you, I would starve.
Originally published in Gnashing Teeth Press
If there’s a heaven, I’m pretty sure I’ve been there—a muddy river bank, deep in the summer grass, where dozens of butterflies, Black Swallowtails, big as my hand, sip mud, unrolling their fiddlehead proboscides. Their wings fall open, exposing bright lozenges of blue, red, and yellow, an illuminated manuscript I can’t quite read. Bees zigzag by, guiding the hive to certain sweetness. I parse the clouds, study the dark moss, spreading like a map, a Rorschach test revealing what might be meaning.
©2020 Robbi Nester
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