Montrose Beach, Before the Funeral

by Maya Marshall

 

After her husband dies she and I go

for a walk, in the bird sanctuary

 

leaving heft a while to wonder aloud

and praise the fat squirrels their chances

 

and the sparrows their play, thinking

I don’t understand, saying, I don’t know

 

what next. Never a baby, I guess.

I imagine things I worry I might see:

 

out, disrobed organs, a long dead friend

in a crowd, or what might sneak by: a full

 

grown sage thrasher, a dappled

shell remnant clasped in her feathers.

 

We walk along the shore talking chemo,

art, uterine horror stories, inviable nests and

 

fibrous growths—maybe the makings of teeth. 

Every body is in disrepair.

 

Along the shore, a gander limps across

the still visible street. A gaggle waddles

 

in loose phalanx around a row of port-a-johns,

fills the disappearing field behind some

 

stranger as we wander our two bodies empty
of bodies. A friend and a widow on the shore.