Blue Whale


We always head straight for the dinosaurs,

then the ocean creatures. I goggle

at the blue whale suspended overhead,


gargantuan, larger than a dinosaur,

born bigger than a bus—

how can it hang in the air


or subsist on a broth

of microscopic plankton?

My son never pauses, he rushes


to the sharks. The whale’s so big

and he’s so small, he can’t see it,

can’t register an object on that scale.


The Hall of Ocean Life is dark blue

and dim, the whale a lighter

shade—maybe for him it merges


with the room. I wonder how old

he’ll be when he first sees it, and

what he’ll say. And what immensity


hangs over me, beyond my ken,

a scope I can’t compass? How

many years will I put in visiting


this dim room teeming with wonders,

jellyfish to giant squid, until

I look up and see


what has been here all the time?






Photo by idua-japan on Flickr


About Author


Barbara Louise Ungar’s latest book, Charlotte Brontë, You Ruined My Life, was a poetry best-seller for Small Press Distribution upon its arrival this spring from The Word Works. Prior books include Thrift and The Origin of the Milky Way, which won the Gival Press Poetry Award, a Silver IPPY, an Eric Hoffer Award, and the Adirondack Center for Writing Poetry Award. She is an English professor at the College of Saint Rose in Albany, New York.

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