For Genny

What was it like to live without a shell,

raw and exposed?

What was it like to work with green and blue ink-stained fingers,

to live between two salty worlds:

your own, and the harsh one crashing below?

What was it like to live with the sound turned down?

The silent, rhythmic melody you sang

will be sung again, still, by all those young women,

who have gone to the water’s edge

to speak your mother tongue.

They will have communion there,

And we, the roaring crowds,

Will be brought back to the shores

To account for them.

Now we are at the edge of your sea, you were

carried away

on the backs of blue mammals, submerged and still.

We wanted to keep you above surface just a little longer,

but an animal with no shell cannot survive for long.

May those wing-tipped, sea creatures lead you to

quiet waters,

and to rest,

where there will be forgiveness

and endlessness.


-  Jessica M. Dowling