“THERE’S NO THROUGH TRAIL” —HAN-SHAN, TRANSLATED BY GARY SNYDER
/ Off Ensenada Grande, Isla Partida

Off Ensenada Grande, Isla Partida

by Bhavika Sicka

The last vaquita will know her fate,
and won’t bother to stop to hunt, to sleep,
nor even to mate—with whom would she
get it on even if she were to desire to? She will
merely embark on her final and solitary journey
across the Pacific waters, with no destination
in sight. In the daytime she’ll loll in the emerald
sunlight, munching a beakful of trout or grunt
or squid—whichever floats or drifts her way—
and when dusk unfurls its tinsel gillnet
over the darkening deep, she’ll carry on
across the dimming lagoons, unhurried,
for there will be nothing to hurry toward.
She’ll leave the shallow cloister of the bay
and make her way beyond its seagrass beds,
her form dipping and rising, dipping and rising
like a crescent grey sliver, weaving and diving
until it disappears somewhere over the horizon.
She may pause to feel the day’s last rays
on her fin. She may pause, however briefly,
to turn around, to make sure it’s truly over.

Bhavika Sicka

About Bhavika Sicka

Bhavika Sicka was born and raised in Calcutta, India. She holds a BA in English from Lady Shri Ram College for Women, Delhi University, and an MFA from Old Dominion University. She is currently based in Norfolk, Virginia, where she works as an adjunct professor of composition and literature. She has been a finalist for The Times of India‘s Write India contest and the recipient of the 2019 Dickseski Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in ArkanaLunch Ticket, and Waxwing, among other journals.

Cold Mountain Review is published once a year in the Department of English at Appalachian State University. Support from Appalachian’s Office of Academic Affairs and College of Arts and Sciences enables CMR’s learning and publications program. The views and opinions expressed in CMR do not necessarily reflect those of university trustees, administration, faculty, students, or staff.