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It’s what we say, isn’t it?
As if it were as easy as crossing a bridge
like the one I’ve set out upon now

with your urn in my hands.
Along the half mile of wooden planks
that span the bay, I pass fishermen

casting their lines into a realm
of periwinkles and blue mussels
clinging at low tide to rock and post.

When the bridge ends, dunes appear
on a barrier beach as cobbled
as any graveyard with stones

missing your name. Beyond,
the Atlantic gapes. Anonymous.
I don’t know how I’ll let you go.

Where are the right whales you loved, dolphins,
seals—if there at all, they’re too far to see.
I wade in. And it is done.

Turning, I step over a wrack line
slippery with seaweed and jellies,
scallops unhinged by the incoming tide,

moon snails, slipper snails,
the discarded bodies of crabs.
Is anything left unbroken?

Me, me, me, the gulls scream,
searching the wreckage
for something to feast on.



Allison Funk is the author of six books of poetry, including The Visible Woman (Parlor). She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2022 and is a professor emerita at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.




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