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The Ghosts of Birds

Kristina Marie Darling

My letters, tied with white string in the hull of

a ship that never reached the other coast.

My letters, which startled the very bird I was

trying to describe as I stood before the impasse.

Now that bird will never come back. We may

die writing each other from adjoining rooms.

The ocean grew larger and larger.

The distance between rooms smaller.

We hear their voices in the corridor, an

aperture a mouth to cover and close.

This heap of ash, this terror.

No barge empty enough to carry it all.

The last snowfall the last thaw.

Your letters widowed into dust.

Now, a little burial.

Your grief even smaller.

Did you place the bones near each other.

Here or here.

When I’m not waiting for the ships

I listen for you.

When I’m not waiting.

In such a light how could you say

No, there is no ship that waits like that.

Kristina Marie Darling is the author of thirty books, most recently DARK HORSE: Poems (C&R Press, 2018). She is Editor-in-Chief of Tupelo Press & Tupelo Quarterly. Her poems published here first appeared in The Ghosts of Birds (Finishing Line Press).


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