Rick Bursky





After my dog was killed by a car 

my parents gave me a baby sperm whale. 

In a small wooden boat, 

father on one oar, mother on the other, 

we rowed past the swells.

The only sound was the oars’ monotonous 

work followed by the sigh 

of the ocean pushed behind.


When it passed beneath

mother shouted “there, there” 

and pointed at the large dark shape. 

Father took photos with an old Instamatic.

On the way back to shore, 

the only thing spoken

was by mother who asked 

if I named it and I had.


“The Soup of Something Missing,” Bear Star Press  Cohasset, CA, 2004