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Brian A. Hopkins is an electronics engineer who lives near Oklahoma City. His stories have appeared in Aboriginal SF, Dragon Magazine, Adventures of Sword and Sorcery, and many small-press publications. This poem, which was inspired by the recent Makah whale hunts, appeared in the Summer 1999 issue of The Dragonfly Review.

Dark Planet is designed and edited by Lucy A. Snyder. If you spot any errors, or if you have any comments, please contact her at lusnyde@cyberus.ca.

All materials copyright 1996-1999 by their respective creators. No stories, articles, poems or images from this webzine may be posted or published without the written consent of their creator(s).

Said The Makah In The Bar That Night Over His Jack Daniels

by Brian A. Hopkins

"I didn't pilot the speed boat
that cut off the whale's retreat.
Or the helicopter
that spotted it from the air.
I didn't call in its position from the GPS
or track it on the fish finder.
I didn't throw the harpoon.
Or fire the fifty caliber rifle.
But I rowed the canoe.
I rowed until my hands bled.
And when the guns stopped blazing,
when the gray leviathan plummeted
at the end of its flesh-locked tether,
I dived from the cedar canoe with the others,
breaking the warm red cloak on the sea,
and we tied its mouth shut,
so that it wouldn't sink,
so that it wouldn't be lost forever.

"Then I looked into its eye,
as it hung there against the indigo depths,
that singular glimmering orb,
large as a dinner plate,
deep as the very sea itself,
And I understood, finally,
what "lost forever" really meant.
And I understood culture,
and heritage and tradition,
and other words we'd used.
And I saw,
in that flickering last light
behind the leviathan's eye,
that he understood those words, too,
that they'd been used again.
That nothing had changed
in the worlds of men,"
Said the Makah
in the bar that night
over his Jack Daniels.