Burnt Head – Betsy Bunn


The surface of the ocean
Ups and downs itself,
Foams white and stops to sparkle
Then does it all again.

I peer and blink and peer again,
Moving small binoculars, tightening the view.
So much foam. So many bumps and downs.

“Please be a whale,”
I pray to the bumps. “I want to see a whale.”
The sea goes flat.

Out on the farthest rocky point,
There’s a man and a tripod and some small white shape I can’t make out.
It’s probably a painter with easel and paints. Maybe a white jacket.

“Precarious,” I think,
“especially for the tripod and the paint.”

I lift my glasses once again.
I was wrong.
The tripod is a telescope;
The white shape is a woman
Huddled low against the rocks.
Surely they are looking for a whale!

I set my sights in their direction.
I watch; she points.
The sea goes flat again.

“Oh God of all the blessings of this glorious day,
Would it be too much to send a whale?”

Betsy Bunn
September 2009