Low Down in the Blues*

March 20, 2022


2021 Walk Award
by Janette Lyn Rosebrook

A humpback breaches,
exposes the long pale accordion of its belly,
and splashes down.

A companion follows,
barnacle-starred flukes fan and slap
across the surface.

Listen for nocturne and solos,
some so low down in the blues
you cannot hear them.

A silvery calf
arches and spirals around its mother
like a dervish.

With whirling songs
the humpback trio turns and fades
into the depths.

The divers surface,
into the silent coda that follows
the passing of friends.

*Copyright © 2021 by Janette Lyn Rosebrook. Broadside illustrated by Kimberly Wulfestieg.

Poet’s bio:
Janette Rosebrook is a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, where she spent long childhood days in the woods, eating salmonberries and redcaps, and muddying up her good shoes in search of frogs. She earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in 2019 and currently works at Western Washington University. Her work has appeared in Cirque: A Literary Journal of the North Pacific Rim, Washington 129, and Solstice: Light and Dark of the Salish Sea.

“I started writing ‘Low Down in the Blues’ during the 2020 Poetry Marathon, an annual event founded by former Bellingham residents, Caitlin and Jacob Jans. I was inspired to finish the poem after good friends shared their incredible underwater photographs of a humpback whale family they encountered during a sailing trip. I was honored to read the poem at a memorial service for one of those friends. It was written in remembrance of my dear friend Bruce.”

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