A Song in the Kayak of Mourning
by Ashley Sapp
You point out the northern parula’s trill
to me as we cut through the water,
birthed in the sunlight: the rising song
with the final sharp note. The yellow warbler
not yet tentative of us. This is the harmony
I will remember when I am gone –
certain, I am, as I watch colors flick through,
a discovery of movement. Speak to me of birds,
and I will commit their voices to memory
because you loved them. We brush hands
as we pass, pathways carved in our fluid wake –
fringed, temporary. Our reflections stir
beneath, broken. Do not grieve. My body is caught
alive, but there are hawk feathers in the water.
Your children will sprout wings from their spines,
a tribute to invincible youth. What we find here
will become home in the oaks. You point to me and
the trill is quiet. The final note, a question.
Ashley Sapp (she/her) resides in Columbia, South Carolina, with her dog, Barkley. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of South Carolina in 2010, and her work has previously appeared in Indie Chick, Variant Lit, Emerge Literary Journal, Common Ground Review, and elsewhere. Ashley has written two poetry collections: Wild Becomes You and Silence Is A Ballad. She can be found on Twitter @ashthesapp and Instagram @ashsappley.
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Photo used under Creative Commons from John Donges