She returns here, every year to the day
a nomad continent
tugged in by the bright hooks of Pleaides.
Each nonchalant breach is a game –
call-and-response of old shape
echoing shape – her spine speaks the hills
cradling the city, and her fathoming
eye settles in with the stars
to reclaim the harbour. We named her
for her compass-worlds – gods’ gaze

Seen by the divine, we seek more
drama in our water, the brash barge bobs
ringed about with fireworks, and the airwaves
skitter jokes -how we delay ourselves for this guest –
what insult
to her chambering boom, what rudeness
to the waiting gasp of the night sky
spraying wildflower sparks since this dirt slept, why
are things we have not wrought
never enough for us

And what is all our noisy celebration
to a whale, but desperation –
the whole ocean a constant we are here – floating
cities, sliding sheet-ice, from the Antarctic
she brings her calf, seeking
the old quiet bowl of water. They have followed
populations of rays, rippling rings, murmurations – that word
it sounds like human speech, but here
means deep silence, and a multitude
flowing as one living thing

Ankh Spice is a sea-obsessed poet from Aotearoa (New Zealand), who believes that words are a real-life superpower that can change the place we’re in. His work has appeared in a growing number of online and printed publications in the last year, and two of his poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize (Black Bough Poetry and Rhythm & Bones). You’ll find him trying to infect everyone with kindness and curiosity, on Twitter and Facebook. His published work is listed in his linktree.