Moctezuma Vailahi

It had been eight months since I dreamt of the whales

being in the water—trapped in glass—feeling their pain—stuck in there with them

I’d like to think the work I’m doing now is helping them shatter their confinement

or at least created some sort of hairline disruption to their imprisonment

A moment with a mentor felt like I should share that they came to me

That is when he promised that the whales were good

There aren’t that many whale people out there, he said.


Are we a dying kind?

What does it mean to be a whale person?

Am I even a whale person?

If I’m not then what am I–—

Is the Pacific no longer my home?

Have I been gone that long?

Has diaspora and a colonizer’s seed truly snatched me from the water forever?

I fasted. I gave up my sleep. I meditated.

I fasted—

I relinquish the right to sleep—

I meditated

And there they were,

The Whales


I wasn’t dreaming them, I was seeing them in front of me

Mija, you are over stimulated,” my madrina said with much worry over the phone at 4 a.m.

She suggested I thank the whales for choosing me, but that they needed to let me rest now.

I hated that idea

I begged them to come and asking them to now leave felt wrong

The whales were my family,

The pod that flew across my room,

The stories they gifted me of the distant past were so clear,

The aftertaste of salt water in my mouth,

The comfort I felt for the first time,

The protection,

I thought, “I’ll never sleep again if that means I get to see the whales”

The whales are my connection to the Pacific

The home I was snatched from, where my language lives, and story truly begins

About the Author

Instagram: @moctezumavailahi