Temporary Dolphins


“Temporary dolphins are currently being installed on the north side of the Woods Hole Terminal’s Slip 1 …”  –The Steamship Authority, Alerts & Status


Of course we all understand the need

For positive, uplifting public relations

But this really does feel excessive.

The poor creatures, installed there

For our entertainment, tail-tied to pylons,

Unable to kick free or blow bubble rings,

Lean and twist, snapping their jaws hopefully

As tourists and commuters toss fish

By the handful from Authority-provided buckets.

At all times, one member of the Authority

Showers the dolphins with a saltwater hose

While four other Authorities stand watching.

None of them know how the dolphins got there

Or for how long they’ll stay or even

If they’re dolphins at all. Are they robots?

Could be, shrugs a friendly Authority.

And honestly, if you plug your ears against

The terror-filled shrieks of the creatures,

Their essential appeal is undeniable,

The glimmering sunlight on their skin majestic.

So we lean against the railing and watch.

We toss some fish. We have no choice.


Gregory Mone is a Little League and soccer chauffeur who lives in West Tisbury.