Clade Song 4 Banner

Clade Song 4

Dolphin Song
A splitting apart warns the water
And the fish that beg to speak
Of the rumbling Earth below—
A deep saline connection breaking.
Kelp throws its dead ashore
In desperation.  Coral skeletons cling
Welded to volcanic rock.  Brainless
Organisms know hot ash-damp
Hardening into mountain roads.
Crying dolphins wake the morning village.
Long, blue, plasma-streaked sand
Bands of darkness flee the slick flesh
And low sun.  Old men
Drop their nets; their weak tendons
Strung on bone pop hemp-like against
The tide of squealing fish.
We read the rotting scrawls
Of blue meat.  Vagrant
Elders watch from the sea wall.
They nod.  They rise.
They scuttle across the sand
In their wisdom to join the exodus.



James Benton James Benton lives in La Grande, Oregon with his wife of 38 years. After working at various times as a sailor, electrician, bill collector, night janitor, guitar teacher, retail clerk, bank security manager, and private investigator, he has found a home teaching writing and literature at Eastern Oregon University. His work has found homes in publications such as The Raintown Review, Rattle, Convergence, Word Riot, and, among others.