Monday, August 26, 2013

Photo/Text 4: Skin

When he sees the rim of the blue whale rising from the Pacific like a landmass, most of it hidden iceberg-like below, when he learns that its heart weighs 1,200 pounds and beats only six times a minute, that a human could swim through its aorta, and after the whale goes down, when he looks long at its footprint on water, the kiss of its full body on the surface, I suddenly think of the snakeskin found by his sister years ago on the steppe of western Nebraska under a harvest moon, the dermis still wet and pliable from a recent molt, and how, a trimester away from birth, he shuddered within me, as if in anticipation of one day being gifted this treasure so that he could gently hold the skin of another beast close to his own, asking if the snake that shed it six years before was still alive, and if so, where it was and what it was doing—and so, I hope he continues to remember the whale whose presence is like the snake’s: a being he almost knew, almost touched, a being whose vestige of skin or hidden heart have imprinted on his mind, a being to wonder about always.

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