Rajiv Mohabir

Hybrid Unidentified Whale

Is it any shock that in loss 
we compensate? How emptiness 
is like a coral, a something, 
that strews its intestines 
then chokes another head 
with its greedy bowels. 
Poets gather at this bed, drawn 
like rorquals to krill blooms 
to the metaphor’s perfume 
of being the first or the only 
of your kind. Scientists listen: 
a blue or fin? Or is it a sei? A mix 
of the dying out? Whatever 
beast calls out will never 
know itself through the mirror 
of another, as populations collapse 
and the sea empties and no others 
can process its cries into music. 
I want to cast such song-frequency 
with lines about how shells 
gouge my feet when I keep up 
with you foot for foot, 
or how I’ve noticed 
that you stop looking back 
for me, but researchers 
can no longer hear 
its strain. Sometimes I call 
into the abyss for so long 
it reaches back and slides 
down my throat.



Rajiv Mohabir is the author of The Cowherd’s Son (Tupelo Press 2017, winner of the 2015 Kundiman Prize) and The Taxidermist’s Cut (Four Way Books 2016, winner of the Four Way Books Intro to Poetry Prize, Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry in 2017). In 2015 he was a winner of the AWP Intro Journals Award. His poetry appears and is forthcoming from journals like POETRYNew England ReviewKenyon ReviewQuarterly West, and Prairie Schooner. He received his MFA in Poetry and Translation from at Queens College, CUNY and his PhD in English from the University of Hawai`i. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of poetry at Auburn University.