Calling out from the mighty Pacific at 52-hertz
is a whale. The loneliest, they say.
Perhaps a hybrid of species, perhaps a
malformed Blue or maybe just deaf,
but the loneliest whale in the world speaks
in frequencies more than double those of its likely ancestral cousins.
First in the late 1980s, and now every single autumn
scientists await its call to track its position,
its migratory activity fluctuating between 700 and 11,000km
per season seems to hint at an
unlonely personality. Just because it’s the
only whale in the world at 52-hertz
doesn’t mean it’s friendless.
Maybe he’s thanking his guests for joining him
on his annual Thanksgiving Feast,
before he delights them with 300 million krill.
Or maybe he feels pressured to settle down,
and his outward cries are the equivalent of
swiping right for that nearby foxy Fin.
Or maybe he’s a starving artist, composing piano ballads
(eerily similar to an early Billy Joel)
and singing with the Sirens to anyone who’ll listen.
Maybe he is that loner who finds solace in the currents
and, overcoming struggle, is finally liberated.
Documentary filmmakers pursue him to capture
a live-action Free Willy, the next Whale Rider, another Blackfish.
But he could just as well be
a homeless whale marching the streets
of San Francisco, mumbling his call,
vulturing half-eaten plankton
from another whale’s dinner
hoping to God that he finds something
he once had but lost.
Call me fishmeal.
There’s no need to search for 52.
Some beings are just meant to be
alone. His signals are out
of range this time of year, but
biologists still plot their courses to catch
the first glimpse of a whale,
looking and listening for loneliness.
If only they listened for the opposite.