the silent sea

it is not perhaps
our greatest crime

hardly worth mentioning amongst
all the heinous acts of pollution

oil spills and melting
ice caps but

we have also stolen the silence
from under the waves

the whales that live here cannot
recall a life without the constant

drone of cruise ship motors
which have turned their ocean

into the kind of noise box
familiar to anyone

who ever tried to have
a conversation in a crowded night-club

there’s no room for nuance
when communication means

someone shouting something
over a background din

knowing that whether or not
they will be understood

is left up to the guesswork
of lip reading

these past months of the human pandemic
marked the first time the whales

were granted the bliss
of real stillness

their listening
laced with wonder

scientists believe their language
will change now

hydrophones have been installed
to pick up the altered

songs born from silence
allowing for new complexity

their first poetry

Laura Theis
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