Why Does the Dugong Cry?

Swirling along in the ever-blue sea
she nurses her calf
and grazes on green.

She came to that place
where the small men hunt,
small men with small phalanges piercing
the thin lobes of their small ears.
They eat flesh, these small men, and
they fuck even smaller women.
This fucking is important to them,
so important that sometimes they can’t.

Swirling along in the ever-blue sea
calf warm at her breast. Bubbles
tickle and remind: time to breathe.
Air that she shares with the small men.
Breasts that she shares with the smaller women.

She rose to the wave that joins sea and air
and one of the small men saw
the quick mist from her blowhole.
He shouted and he pointed.
They ran to surround her.
Splashing away the ever-blue sea.

The small men push, pull, poke, prod  
until she’s stranded on the beach.
Where is my child?
They beat her eyes with rocks until tears slide down
Precious few,
every one captured,
every one trapped,
mingled with blood
on a small cotton swab.

Dead-Dugong-Egypt-HEPCA-1-560x420 (1)
(Note to Friends: The dugong is an endangered marine mammal who spends her time grazing in the shallows for seaweed. She has a lifespan of 70 years and produces only a few young. Some humans believe her tears are powerful aphrodesiacs. So they capture dugong and beat her around the eyes to make her cry. Then they capture the tears and sell them. This one died on an Egyptian beach. She was photographed by an environmental advocacy group called HEPCA.)

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4 Responses to Why Does the Dugong Cry?

  1. Julie Lundy says:

    Saddens me deeply. Thank you for the read!

  2. Ginny Richardson says:

    My favorite; very special and spiritual.

  3. Amanda says:

    Ah Julie and Ginny, Thanks for your comments. This situation taps into so many deep streams of thought. The people who believe the tears are magic are, themselves, quite disadvantaged – indigenous groups in Thailand and Indonesia. One village keeps a dugong in an underwater cage. They bring her ashore and when she cries they sell the tears to tourists. If it weren’t for the rampant habitat destruction caused by development, this practice wouldn’t be such a threat to the dugong. But as it is . . .

    Anyway, a sad situation and I guess mostly what we can do is be aware.

  4. erick kyejo says:

    beating these marine creatures saddens me…., these creatures have to be given their basic right to live rather than be hunted.