Richard Lewis

 

 

 

Whales

 

I know not to tell you that one day you’ll be better,
so instead I tell you this: We are blue whales, we lie
solitary on the ocean floor, looking up at a surface
where life is nothing but silhouettes. I tell you I feed
on white tablets of krill, committing to the analogy,
take them each morning with yesterday’s water. They
keep me anchored, low to the ground. Without them
I’d be battered by storms which rip metal from ships.
Without them I’d be a husk; a carcass in the currents.
I tell you it’s nothing like this at all. But close enough.
Nights down here will twist you until you snap; days
will cut you off under the ice; every few seconds a sudden
drop into remembering, so that you can never truly relax.
I know this doesn’t make you feel any better, that you think
you belong down here, alone, and maybe you do. I know
you think that it will never change, and maybe it won’t. I know
how easy it is to wrap yourself in the water and the silence
and forget. And so I tell you, instead, about the importance
of perspective. that you only appreciate the magnitude
of blue whales when you’re up close, when you can run
your fingers over the old scars of their thick hide. Or when
they venture out of the depths to pass ships. Finally, I tell you
that I’m kept going by those moments: When a certain song,
smile or break of sunlight calls me to the surface. And just for
the briefest of moments, taking a deep breath, the cold air
stinging my lungs, the world says ‘welcome back’.

 

 

 

 

Richard Lewis is a writer from Swansea currently residing in Cardiff. He was second prize winner of the Terry Hetherington Award, and has had work appear in publications including Cheval and London Grip. He is currently working on his debut poetry collection.

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