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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.