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.