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Wednesday, January 13, 2021


by Jenna Le

State and federal wildlife authorities were investigating after a manatee with “Trump” on its back was spotted in Florida on Sunday. Credit: Hailey Warrington, The New York Times, January 11, 2021.

A manatee is no cartouche.
A manatee is not a blimp.
No pharoah's name or Nike swoosh
carved in her flanks shall ever crimp 

her honey-languid swimming strokes.
She is no singing telegram,
no contrail, and no ad for smokes.
The same way you would treat the lamb, 

thus you shall treat the manatee,
whose every breath's a stinky huff,
who shuffles upstream clownishly.
Love's not just for the pretty stuff, 

a fact I thought you'd understand.
Man's what he is, yet God loved man.

Jenna Le is the author of Six Rivers (NYQ Books, 2011) and A History of the Cetacean American Diaspora (Indolent Books, 2017), a Second Place winner in the Elgin Awards. She was selected by Marilyn Nelson as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s inaugural sonnet competition and by Julie Kane as winner of Poetry By The Sea’s sonnet crown competition the following year. Her poetry appears or is forthcoming in AGNI, Denver Quarterly, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, and West Branch