It turned up Monday morning in the Bay with the tide changing
straight dorsal of a young bull orca rolling slapping
its flukes black and white flashing it put on quite a show
Word got out through the local radio station soon the parking lot filled
as curious town folk rushed down to the water
stretching their necks to a get a good view
Blowing off vapour the beast’s hissing could be heard along the shore
he snagged the anchor line of a sailboat
pulling it bobbing for hundreds of metres
When the creature breached the crowd roared its approval
a mother pushing a baby carriage interviewed for big city TV was quoted
how cool right here in front of us how wonderful for the children!
A girl in a bikini posed in the shallows
the photographer promised she’d be in the paper
if he could only manage to catch the dorsal in the background
When the girl stepped out of the water she told others how
the fish was so close her heart was beating out of her chest
while others stretched on the sand spit for selfies
In the excitement young men in rally caps rushed out in
sea-doos revving circles around the whale soon
the Bay was a tumult of white water wakes it was a three ring circus
Perched on a bench a tourist with binoculars announced to those around
I can see the monster’s great eye a woman in cowboy boots observed it can’t leave the Bay like it’s trapped in a paddock
An elder from the reserve told a story about a lost mask of the totem
this he said (shaking his head) could be the
Creator’s Searcher a very bad omen
The mood of the crowd was changing from jubilant to concerned
at a meeting at the town hall DFO officers had to admit
a transient rogue hanging around in the Bay is unusual
They couldn’t answer if the whale was playful or if he was agitated
was he lost? cast out? was he starving?
could it be the heat of the water? had the water turned toxic?
It didn’t matter by now they all agreed
there was reason for concern
especially about anything called Killer
A rogue orca is unpredictable and dangerous
surely it’s just a matter of time before it turns hostile
tipping boats and drowning people
So what do you do with a 4 tonne predator swishing around in your bay?
you can’t net it or lasso it
you can’t entice it or otherwise move it
Some shouted make it go away!
save the town! save the children!
but the DFO officers could only shrug their shoulders
By this time two factions had formed
animal rights folks shouting slogans about saving the whales
and those grumbling in corners about using explosives.
Neil Garvie is a retired, prairie ex-pat who now lives on Vancouver Island where he spends his time beachcombing as well as writing about misty mountains and the prairie wind. Neil’s career was in education as a teacher, elementary school principal and university instructor. He has a Ph.D. in curriculum theory and has written extensively in that area. Neil has published poems in a number of journals and anthologies. His first book of poetry Silence Craves a Voice (Poplar Publishing) has just been completed.