6/28/23 Workshop – A Poem by Stan Heleva in a Play by Michelle Pauls

       Stan Heleva and Michelle Pauls

When We Were Whales* – by Stan Heleva

We knew nothing of the legs we had shed
As we swam in the Peruvian desert
Nor how they had become unnecessary
Not an inkling of immanent return had we, nor again why.

We had only silent ballet, no music
Turning ourselves over in the murky sun
Only to dart in to tear more flesh from our fellows
Our tusks glinting dully, our beards stained with blood.

Our name, Leviathan Melvillei, was unknown to us
And might have remained so for all the good
It has done dead whale or dead poet: we had no tune I repeat
We taught them only to cry in pain; they made of it a song.

*From Michelle Pauls’ Forthcoming play, “It’s Complicated….This Gift of Life.”

Reflective writing prompt:
Write about when we were something else.