Reading a novel can be just like daily life:  you’re moving a million miles an hour.  A great, suspenseful novel makes you want to sprint to the finish even if you’re enjoying the journey.  Poetry – not so much.  Poetry is more like a snow day.   Today, if you can, pause with me and enjoy Arne Weingart’s “Inland Whales,” part of his award-winning collection, Levitation for Agnostics.

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Inland Whales

They breach and sound only
in the fattest landlocked fog
and here, from the shore,

are easily mistaken for
the gray rocks that signal
the drop-off past the shallows.

They cavort in the way glaciers
cavort, with a grim and useless
certitude acquired over eons.

They are slow to evolve,
reluctant to form attachments
to species they will surely outlive.

Have they surfaced to mate,
to accompany their young on a
migratory tour of the great lakes?

In the millennial fog we think
we see an occasional spout,
a luminescent, cretaceous plume

of zebra mussel shells
on the horizon line, proof to us
for all time that certain creatures

need us for absolutely nothing,
having no questions for which
we are the answer.


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For more on Arne Weingart and Levitation for Agnostics, please click here.  He’ll be reading at Parnassus on Monday, February 22nd, at 6:30 p.m.

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