She swims, smooth and pale and white,
away from her native tropic waters
into the cold depths that Cape Cod harbors;
an odd oceanic explorer
coasting carefully through unknown waters,
slipping past a different shore seeking
perhaps some new vista
to gaze at when, desirous of fresh air,
she raises her body above water
a disturbing sight, nearly mythological
confounding us with the sight.
Experts tell me the manatee
is a rare, delicate mammal
confined to warm southern waters,
a thing to preserve,
some thing future generations may admire
without reserve. Yet
her strange journey seems to darken this vision,
Nature taking some deliberate actionbut what?
The specialists cannot agree.
So this year as last year (and possibly the next
if another manatee launches yet another
exploration of northern waters) we will
trap her and return her
to the warm waters that will,
we know, best keep her alive
if not satisfied.
Her journey and that one last year bewilder
me. No expert myself, I wonder why
the Manatee attempts these trips
and whether another will make the trek again some day.
Perhaps she met last years explorer
who perhaps met or learned about some other manatee
who sometime in some past moment
did slip past our guardian-gaze,
unremarked past Cape Cods deathly-cold waters
and back again to Florida to tell the tale
of humpback whales and lobster pails
a fish story of sorts.