One Summer: Orcas in the Bay ~ A poem by Wes Lee

One Summer: Orcas in the Bay

We began excitedly moving out of the sea —
not in a furious tumble the way
we would at the sight of a shark.

Lines of cars stopped on the road,
people climbing out to raise their hands
above their eyes.

A swirling fracas as they thrashed under the waves.
The huge male surfacing in front of us barely
ten feet away.

‘Probably hunting something. Most likely stingrays,’
someone said.

And after, it felt as if we’d been pumped with helium.
As if earth’s gravity had loosened its grip
and all the parts of us were trying to lift off.

Telling the story again.
Wanting to hear it from each other’s lips;
provoking each other to embellish it.

Polishing each aspect.
Then we set it down.

Wes Lee

Won second prize in The Takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize 2017, judged by Elizabeth Smither.

Wes Lee’s writing has appeared in a number of journals and anthologies, including
The Stinging Fly, Poetry London, Magma, The London Magazine, Poetry New Zealand, The Australian Poetry Journal, The Stony Thursday Book. She has won a number of awards for her poetry, most recently the Poetry New Zealand Prize 2019 (Massey University Press). Her latest collection is By the Lapels (Steele Roberts Aotearoa, 2019).

Photo credit @vicsemprini at

One Reply to “One Summer: Orcas in the Bay ~ A poem by Wes Lee”

  1. ‘One Summer: Orcas in the Bay’ – A poem by Wes Lee
    What a wonderful poem. I have read it again and again.

    Thank you,
    Maureen Weldon

    Liked by 1 person

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