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naknek by V Rae  ~  x
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 the warmth of a womb surrounded by love

he wriggles and pushes to see what’s above


the pressure in life to cling and connect

succumb to the call: release and protect


 eased to the sea with shiver and start

he releases a bubble that charms mom’s heart


they surface together her back in his grasp

sparkling like diamonds, he spouts his first gasp


but trouble’s ahead she can tell by the skies

sea cranky and dark and wind on the rise


troubled, she dives with baby in tow

been here before, there’s nowhere to go


they swim through the night, seas pounding and mean

she turns with a start, he’s not to be seen


mom searches in vain, confused and alone

then dives to the deep in soul mourning groan


frightened, alone and prey for another

he swims for the shore in search of his mother


the village of Naknek turn out like a friend

coaxing the calf back to sea once again


but baby can’t do it, feels safe in their lap

his belly now growling for milk and a nap


 neighbors in Seward soon learn of his plight

and rally to offer the orphan a flight


 placed cozy and smiling in a pool with a shove

he struggles to live among hands full of love


 without mama’s milk the odds are not good

but caretakers gather…it’s just understood


for weeks they struggle to reverse nature’s call

best minds in the country, it’s life after all


but late in an evening he hears mama’s groan

and slips off to find her, all on his own


thanks SeaLife Center and all who helped out

 a toast to your future from baby’s life spout


V Rae


* Three day old Naknek was rescued June 18, 2012 and passed July 9, 2012.  The first baby Beluga calf ever rescued, he charmed and touched the hearts of researchers and caretakers from around the world during his short life at the Alaska SeaLife Center.

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