Skyla, Kasatka, Tahlequah

Poem and photos by Faith Jayaram, junior at Spring Street International School

I traveled far to save you,
High on childish naïveté.
I suppose at the time
I believed myself a heroine;

Reality, though, is cruel,
And real life is death
By the dozens,
Starved, poisoned, struck.

I no longer believe in fate,
Or rather I do not believe
In my capacity
To save.

Yet I dream of your birth,
And I dream of your death.

I’m sorry, Skyla.
I’m sorry, Kasatka.
I’m sorry, Tahlequah.

I dreamed of you too,
But I
Was too late.

My stomach aches
When you swallow paint and
Cement, churning like
Chunks of sediment;

My lungs convulse
When you suffocate in
Chemical-rich space,
One part water, two chlorine.

You exhale, and I

Breathe again,
Breathe you in,

Feel you in my chest,
Feel the waves crash

Against my black and white

I don’t know whose
Blood runs in my veins,
But our ancestors are
The same.

I promise I will tell the world
Our names.

We believe that our property is more valuable if we and our neighbors protect the shoreline. Orcas need salmon. Salmon need forage fish. Salmon and forage fish need the protection of eelgrass and kelp. Eelgrass and kelp need clean water. Shoreline protections are good for ecosystems and for the long-term economy of these lovely islands.

Val and Leslie Veirs

members, San Juan Island