The Manchester Review
Laura Webb
Four Poems
Poetry
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The Catch

The white transducer scanned her belly
like an oceanographer scanning for baleen whales,
or baleen whales scanning for each other
miles apart, but pressed ear to ear

in the oil-thick mêlée, forming pictures
like cross-stitches from the clicking
of knitting needles, from the low rumblings
of whales churning their jaws in the darkness.

When she slid out like a muskrat,
half outraged, half subdued, flipper-less,
and we held her up to the light,

wiped the spray from her ears, she flinched,
her sound fleshing out in our hands,
in the snagged nets of our fingers.