were you once human, manati?
did you once make love to sea daughters and ocean suns,
crying softly, tears over tears, from curiosity and getting too close?
has a hurricane ever tossed you sideways, leaving you to rest in an unfamiliar home,
far from family, and warmth, and love, manati?
what is your language?
could you answer these questions in a Caribbean dialect that I might somehow understand?
and why are you hiding, African manati?
why aren't you teaching the world to be more gentle, more innocent?
were you once human, manati?
is it possible that we were once that wonderful?

a/n: I've switched to manatees.

(FictionPress won't regognize the accent, but manati is not a typo.
The name manatí comes from the Taíno, a pre-Columbian people of the Caribbean, meaning "breast".)