Allyson Whipple

Villanelle for Jonah

It’s been three days. Or four.
Without a sun or moon
to help track time here in the core

of this leviathan, covered in the gore
of half-digested shrimp, I can’t run
or hide. It’s been three days, or four.

I swear, I can’t take any more
kelp or plankton, swallowed by the ton,
surrounding me inside this whale’s core.

Let me burn instead, I implore
you, God. Lesson learned. You’ve won.
I’ve prayed the past three days (or four).

Set me free. When I’m home, I’ll pour
wine in your honor, cook a lamb well-done
as sacrifice. I believe, deep in my core,

a man can change. From now on I’ll adore
you as I should. I’ll be as good as any son.
I’ll atone, and in three years, or four,
we won’t speak of this trouble anymore.


Allyson Whipple believes that writing, walking, meditation, and rest have the capacity to heal at the individual and the collective level. Her mission is to help people integrate these practices in a practical way. Allyson teaches technical communication at Austin Community College and is the author of two chapbooks: Come Into the World Like That (2016) and We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are (2013). She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Texas at El Paso.

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