Whales Discover Fireworks
Narrated by Mary A. Turzillo
by Mary A. Turzillo
An 11-year-old female bottlenose whale, not yet sexually mature, spent up to three days in the Thames estuary, in a flawed attempt to head west and rejoin the Atlantic.
—Times Online January 25, 2006
Junk-food-crazed raccoons moved in first,
via our chimneys,
then a few bears, uninvited to brunch,
skulking away with a bag of cheese fries,
merely annoyed at shouting or gunshots.
The mountain lions wore out their welcome
snacking on puggles, cats, and the occasional hiker.
Speak nothing of peregrines, roadkill-fed in skyscraper aeries
Or Canada geese,
squawking for white bread, refusing to migrate, crapping the boat dock.
Squirrels stealing birdseed , begging to be petted.
Deer munching our shrubs, addicted to corn and salt,
undeterred by pie tins rattling in the wind, or fox piss.
They’ve all heard our hamsters are treated well,
good grub, and if you get bored, just wander off:
remember those flocks of feral parakeets?
And now the whales. They heard Seaworld has an HMO.
So baby orca Luna adopts Nootka fishermen,
gambols with their boats, but tantrums
when Fisheries wants him back with his boring pod.
Are we deaf? They want in.
So let’s finish what began when the first wolf
made his peace with fire,
bequeathing his children forever the hearth and the leash.
That bottlenose whale swimming up the Thames
amid New Years’ pyrotechnics
had a message for London:
Take me in. Tow me to your emergency ward and heal me.
I want an aquarium and a good education.
Will do tricks for haddock.
Freedom’s just a word
and the words slave and master, in whale, are one.
AUTHOR BIO: After a career as a professor of English at Kent State University, Dr. Mary A. Turzillo is now a full-time writer. In 2000, her story “Mars Is No Place for Children” won SFWA’s Nebula award for best novelette. Her novel An Old-Fashioned Martian Girl was serialized in Analog in July-Nov 2004. These two works have been selected as recreational reading on the International Space Station.
Mary’s Pushcart-nominated collection of poetry, “Your Cat & Other Space Aliens,” appeared from VanZeno Press in 2007. Her collaborative book of poetry/art, Dragon Soup, written with Marge Simon, appears from VanZeno in 2008.
Mary’s collection Lovers & Killers, in addition to winning the Elgin Award, was also on the Stoker ballot and contains “The Hidden,” second place winner in the Dwarf Stars award for 2012, plus two Rhysling nominees: “Tohuko Tsunami” and “Galatea.”
See http://www.duelingmodems.com/~turzillo/ and http://maryturzillo.livejournal.com/ for more information