How parched, how marrow-dust dry
they must get on their long surface and undersea
journeys—huge stuffed husks,
imperturbable swimmers grazing
jellyfish abutting the bruised
waters’ pasture. How thirsty
a sixty day swim, how graceful
the winching back to one unforgotten
shore. Plub, plub, sleepless
the hull’s inner workings, their tails
motorless rudderings; deep,
deep their thirst and need. One hundred,
one hundred and twenty: how long they live
in their thirst, propelling
the great bloody steaks of their bodies,
dreaming, anticipating alert
single-purposed oblivions: sweet
sweet turtle-sex—which excites
the lonely watches of sailors—sometimes days
joined in wave-riding rapture on the surface
of the depths. And still more thirsty
afterwards, how alone later—currents
having taken—righted, relentless,
back on course, collision, with centuries,
with a shore; solitary, speechless,
utterly buoyant, as unethereal
as cabbage....How thirsty these
both wise and dumsy, like us, feeding
in ever widening or diminishing
circles, outward and inward, dropping
great oily tears, killing themselves
to beat a big hole in dirt,
burying something, then retreating
heavily on their own tracks, like rails,
reaching forward to the sea.