Observing Florida manatees.
You ate well this winter,
grazing on grasses
in warm southern waters,
earning you the name "sea cows".
Returning in spring,
you look like small fat whales,
your thick hides encrusted with barnacles
displayed proudly like polished sea glass.
Gardens of moss and algae
sea-sway along your backs,
their green filigree fingers gently airbrushing
the brutal cuts of propeller blades,
each scar as unique as a fingerprint.
When the season turns cool,
sea-cocoons will wrap you
in soft blankets of seaweed
to warm your bodies
and heat your blood.
Then, emerging transformed,
you'll return to spring shores,
their loving sandy arms
opening wide to receive you.