Baleen

by Lise Day

Feathery, comb-like
filters of plankton and krill
harvested in blubber and blood
hacked from the jaws of whales
flayed till palely naked
transported in mucky holds
of ships bucketed on arctic seas
steeped in chemical baths
then inserted in corsets
narrow slits of silk and lace
to nestle intimate
in bosoms and clinched waists
of fine ladies of fashion.

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