Don't call us

Jenny Boyar

“Don’t call us”: Tampa Bay Law Enforcement Asks Beachgoers to Stop Snitching on Horny Manatees. “We can assure you they are more than fine.” (newspaper headline 31st July 2023)

  
  
a crowd assembled at the water’s edge
can have one of two meanings: the first
is spectacle, the second, distress, which is
not to say that one never leads into or from
the other, that there is never reason

 
                             to approach any spectacle
                                                   with caution

 
and what first looks like a giant tarp
stretched across the sea is actually
ten of them, counted later, while now
they are barely moving, like large larva
in an ocean of tarp and  are they OK?

 
                               as if we could do anything
                                                    but stand by

 
watching the slow rotation
like spokes on a wheel
which, it will be explained,
is nine males to one female
in the middle, suspended

    

                       because what resembled death
                         was really the inception of life
                  beginning with a chase and ending
                    with this scene, all of us gathered
                underneath the morning’s rising hue

                       
the manatee, multiplying, but only in males
swirling through the warming water
set against the spotlight of burning sun
blooming in a desert field of sky and

 
                                           a pupil that dilates
                                          darker at the center
                                       is one that is opening
                                                        to the light

 
and sometimes
what is required
is a view from the sidelines
and higher, in order to see

 
                                they are more than fine
in order to never understand

 
                       stop snitching
things as they really are

Jenny Boyar

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

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