We loaded up tanks & fastened them with chains to blimps & rocket ships, secured their chambers with krill & oxygen & trained marine biologists in little green suits. We hauled them through the exosphere, defied all laws of safety & science as the whales tugged behind us in their glass boxes. Over the growing years, we spent hours in our classroom writing their names with yellow-orange crayons on cardstock paper, sang stories about the orcas & other types of whales. Blue. Beluga. Humpback. Fought over the plush Narwhal in the reading corner. Narwhals have always been the most loved. At night, our fathers read us bedtime stories as we gazed out the porthole glass & pointed at the nearby cubes of water, smiling at the aquatic creatures from our quarters. After months & months of watching whales from our windows, their numbers started to dwindle. We lost Sabrina &Thomas & Kenji & held a funeral for them before their lifeless bodies were launched into the blackness of space. Verses of our song were cut for concision’s sake. We forgot about the Long-finned pilot. The Sei. The Amazon River Dolphin, which yes, was actually a whale. When we finally arrived, to the new home with the new ocean & the new sand colored like cadmium, it was time to say goodbye to whoever was left. Each surviving whale was plopped into the swirling waters. We sang them our whale songs, waving from the shore as the tide lapped at our bare skin. They swam away, calling back in a language we would never learn to speak.
Hannah Cajandig-Taylor resides in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where she reads for Passages North and Fractured Lit. Her work has appeared in journals like Drunk Monkeys, Kissing Dynamite, and Pretty Owl. She loves to play Nancy Drew games on her computer and recently ordered a rock tumbler online.