The bell resonates through the building

They awaken from their cells and saunter into the halls

They gather ‘round their water fountains and dented grey lockers

Someone points and the rest start to giggle

“That color makes her look like a beached whale!”


She goes to lunch and sits alone, eating a sandwich her mother made

She twirls her finger ‘round a note that says I love you

Though she’s never felt much love, even from herself

But soon they come and snatch the note and toss it ‘round

“Look at that gross sandwich—I bet her mom is just as fat as she is!”


She shuffles her way home, deciding to walk than take the bus

She glances down at her feet, and sullenly realizes that she can’t see her toes past her stomach

She sucks in her lip and kicks at some leaves. Maybe the walk will burn off calories.

But it’s not like she finished lunch anyway.

And she threw up the rest after the kids had left.

“I feel better this way,” she says.


There’s no one home when she opens the door

Only the solitude that greets her every day, every hour

So she goes up stairs and to the bathroom, where she looks in the mirror

And notices the stretches on her arms and the flab beneath her chin

She brings a hand to her throat and decides on what to do.


The next day at school the kids had no one to call a “whale”

In fact, they hadn’t seen her for a week.

But no one cared much. They found others to pick on.

Little they knew that her mother was now weeping

Knelt before the coffin that held her daughter’s soft body

That had the impression of rope ‘round the neck.

The clue about why she did it was in a note

Addressed, in name, to her mother

Yet targeted at the world as well

And the teachers who saw her called names everyday

And the students who sat back and laughed, too

At all the people who did nothing


“This whale has finally decided to return to the ocean

Where I’ll be with other whales, and hopefully will avoid

The prodding of evil people and the ones who just gawk

Instead of trying to help the whale

Who only wanted to be loved.”


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