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Where do pelicans die?



How does a pelican’s mate mourn?

Do neighbors bring them catch of the day 

so they don’t have to leave their grieving?


Who tends the chubby little wren body

when there’s a death? Who gathers in their favorite ficus

to keen for the lost youngster who couldn’t sit still?


I, too, have lost friends over these last years, 

not lovers or family, just plain-paper friends

and felt the quick cut of aloneness wound anew.


I cannot go back in time to that first flush

of friendship, cannot travel back over miles,

lay my hand on their door to say good-bye.


Teachers, heroes, pals pass like those fallen pelicans 

as sorrow slows my gait, limits my eyes

in an ache of loss that hardly shakes the world.

Sharon Lopez Mooney, 'Where do pelicans die?' in Poetic Medicine, New Voices, ed. Eve Dubrow, Palo Alto, CA, Fall 2021 :

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