Belly of a Whale

Alison Clare


They found the carcass on the beach and walked

amongst its bones and sleek salty flesh

through the gaping mouth of death

darkness and rows of luggage once precious

now lost they took lamps of oil and held handkerchiefs

to their faces the stench of blood as rich as its color in life

washed away by sea foam and moon tides pink flesh crawling

with the clatter of sand crabs


Each case was opened one by one with gloved hands

blistering leather and rusting latches safe from the rot

of water and the curse of time a watch a necklace of gems a white

dress shoes by the dozen plenty of whiskey

two stuffed rabbits a manuscript unpublished loaded

onto the back of carts and dragged away

from the black sand of the beach


When the tideline rose they rolled the slippery body back into the waves


One man became crushed beneath its weight and drowned



Alison Clare is a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she completed her Masters in English, writing poetry under the guidance of Gale Wronsky and Sarah Maclay. She lives in Los Angeles with her bearded husband, neurotic rescue dogs, and non-bearded/happy baby daughter.