Everything Looks Perfect
by Elizabeth Tibbetts
Our guide holds a telescope thick as a man’s arm
as she scans the bay for signs of a finback’s spout
or the black back of a minke breaking the water.
She’s a bow–legged–seen–it–all woman with a serpent
twining its green tail around one calf and a carp
swimming the other. She knows what she’s talking about —
It’s not all good news out here — pods shrinking, toxins
spit out of a nursing whale’s fat into her milk. Still . . .
everything looks perfect, the Bay of Fundy ruffled
as we sail towards islands that pop up like muffins
along the horizon. Even Old Sow is quiet, mere current
where, in a few hours, two meeting tides will churn
into a whirlpool. Someone shouts, and we all turn
to watch a mink submerge, surface, then sink again.
Ledged seals lift their heads and watch us pass
as our captain follows the whales, but they never
come close enough to heave up beside us.
But as we sail back in, off starboard, a frenzy of gulls
shrieks over a rough patch of water where porpoises
encircle a school of fish. A bald eagle flies in, then
another, and two more, so close we hear their wings.
They dive and rise with herring flapping in their claws,
then mid–flight tear at them with their yellow beaks.
Oh my god, we cry, our voices torn from us as we float
together on this great salty body we once crawled from for air.