The Robert Watson Literary Prize Poem THE WHALE

Spring 2010: Issue 87

David Bruzina

There is still a spotlight aimed at a paper moon.

There is still a young woman reading the classics

out loud in a downtown park—


though the park lights are out

and the whale is pulled through the streets in the evening

by ten groaning oxen.  We are all being swallowed.


Night by night, the avenues empty,

the whale hollows, its gut expands.

But it is warm in here.  There’s plenty to eat.


We’re burning the blubber for light

by which to sew tents.  In the tail,

someone is stirring a soup, someone is baking bread.