Washed up on a desolate shore,
A wounded seal cries.
It cries an agonizing cry,
Hoping a member of its clan will come,
Come to help.
A defenseless seal,
A victim of an environmental disaster,
Was a former prisoner in an ebony sea.
Now it is free to live,
But live it will not;
It has to die a painful death.
A sandpiper readies itself to soar,
Soar like the wind.
It leaps, only to fall to the befouled ground.
It is a hostage in a jet black world.
Now, like trying to escape through black bars on a cage,
It cannot fly.
It is paying for a crime committed by a callous human.
It will die.
Straining every muscle, a salmon swims.
It swims through a thick wall of tarry grime.
It is a captive with no escape.
Its family, its entire species is gone.
Vanished without a trace.
I, an observer from the outside world,
Am denied privileges to the open sea.
I pay a price,
Although nothing like the others.
I listen to their painful cries,
The cries of the victims, captives, and hostages,
The cries that one careless human caused.
The sand is black with sticky oil,
The water dark as night,
The sea birds soar no more over the frothy waves, and
Dead fish litter the coast.
The seal, the sandpiper, the salmon and I
Shed salty tears for victims who live no more.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.