This is what happened when
a twenty-three-year-old humpback
threw herself out of the water:
the guide told us that breaching
is inexplicable, and that she herself
once tried to lob her body out of its context.
We hooted when our whale
hit her white tail against the sea surface.
It makes me want to cry, a woman said.
A line of red blood ran down a man’s ankle
from an old wound, recently disturbed,
maybe by the ship—it sent us all into each other.
We stepped on feet, grasped strange shoulders—
there weren’t enough rails to hold.
Girls in identical dresses used their hands to keep
skirts from becoming inverted umbrellas:
they staggered. The guide said in her ponytailed
voice, whale tails are like fingerprints.
We jostled each other
as the black tire back rolled into and out of our air
and the intersection tail split the horizon.
Finally, there was the full whale,
whose largeness was still unseen
even when the body came before us.
We stretched our cameras and
tried to keep out the whorls of fingers.
Ariel Katz is a senior in Morse College.