‘Whales’ by Claire Trévien


Whales lived under our house
making the hinges rock, splitting cups and cheeks.

Stray socks melted in their comb-mouths
their fins sliced through conversations,
we found bones in our cups of tea.

Most of the time they just wanted to play
bounced against bookshelves, snorted leaks,
threw bodies across the room.

No one believed me of course,
the carpet looked too smooth to hide a mammal.

At night, I’d listen to their song
beat through the floorboards
like slashes of headlights.

For days they’d circle the house
take a dive into the cellar, press the doorbell
and run, I’d sometimes forget then trip
over the carcass of one beached
in the gutter.
(from The Shipwrecked House Penned in the Margins, 2013)
Watch a video of Claire reading Whales
Claire Trévien is an Anglo-Breton poet and the author of The Shipwrecked House (Penned in the Margins, 2013) and Low-Tide Lottery (Salt, 2011). She is the editor of Sabotage Reviews, co-editor of Verse Kraken and co-organizer of Penning Perfumes.