She too must sleep but when she does, it isn’t like a human. For the pink dolphin, only one hemisphere of the brain rests, while the other half stays alert, one eye open. Maybe she’s keeping that eye on me, maybe she’s waiting to breathe. She’s a deep hued pink from age and abrasion with others of her kind, years defending her young. Yet her skin is smooth and soft and it glistens in the light. Not at all what I expected. Her ashes were set adrift eleven years ago and here she is, gliding along in the Orinoco or maybe it’s the Amazon, feasting on croaker, tetra and piranha. Her favorite used to be red snapper. I ask her what these exotic fish taste like and what does she want after all this time. She swims a murky underworld but her precision echolocation tells her everything. She talks to me with her rapid fire clicks and whistles. I keep telling her to speak up. I don’t understand. Finally, I realize she has found a cure for cancer. And for just one click, I am so relieved, but before she can tell me what it is or how it works, she slips away, under the muddy ripples.
Leah Billingsley is a poet living in Austin, TX. Her work has appeared in Illya’s Honey, Cenizo Journal and the Texas Poetry Calendar. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
Artwork: Alexandra Khitrova