Mass Stranding

The US Navy blinds the sea floor with bursts of sonar at 235 decibels. National security scalds Melon-Headed whales with gas-bubble lesions. They dive deep into the dark to flee a suddenly bright night. We are safe. We are safe. The military secures us. The pulse floods for hundreds of miles. As far away as the Bahamas and Hawai‘i Beaked Whales belly up. Many of us suffer bleeding in the brain. Such metallic blasts alter our diving patterns and air bends into pockets and we float pelagic with large bubbles in our organs. Have you ever lost your own balance? Can you move? Panic. Who is coming across the sea to you? Or do you feel the tidal pull of the ocean at your fins as you graze your body in the surf’s wake, up and down the beach. There’s nowhere to run. Not up. Not down. Look at the hill from Ka‘ena; see the satellites. How many Kānaka Maoli dry in the sun? The beach is secured for an opportunity cost.

 

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Rajiv Mohabir received the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry by Four Way Books for his first full-length collection The Taxidermist’s Cut (Spring 2016), the 2015 AWP Intro Journal Award, the 2015 Kundiman Prize for The Cowherd’s Son, and a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant. Currently he is pursuing a PhD in English from the University of Hawai`i, where he teaches poetry and composition.

 

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