Fall 2010, Volume 9

Poetry by Kai Laursen

The Whale Hunt

Tilkut prepared for the whale hunt,
fasting on fern roots and wild lily bulbs,
purifying himself in the sweat lodge.

On the fifth night of prayer and fasting,
Tilkut invoked the spirit of the whale.
He danced like a pine bough in a gentle wind.
Sage is burned. A haunting song began:

Salmon crooned in the whale’s belly,
baritones and high-pitched trilling,
the drone of plankton swimming,
a sea lion howled. And the whale joked:

Tilkut, all your preparation was in vain,
for as you cook me, I will rise up in smoke.





BIO: Kai Laursen was born and raised in Seattle. He earned his M.F.A. in writing from California College of the Arts. Currently he lives in Bali.