Burial

Jessica Ratigan

We walked down to the water together
the day his old friend just didn’t wake up.
I had no words to offer as we sat in the sand
watching the mother osprey hunt.

The day his old friend just didn’t wake up,
we stripped to our suits in silence,
watched the mother osprey hunt.
He stopped waist-deep—I swam away.

When we stripped to our suits in silence,
I saw a mango in his bicycle basket.
He stopped waist-deep—I swam away.
Head bowed, he held the fruit above the water.

I saw a mango in his bicycle basket
then watched across waves, still swimming.
Head bowed, he held the fruit above the water,
let go, and went under. Clouds piled like castles.

I gazed across waves, still swimming,
at prehistoric cranes near the pier.
He let go and went under—clouds piled like castles.
It felt like something happened, maybe he prayed

while I studied cranes near the pier.
I had no words to offer when we sat in the sand,
but I think something happened. Maybe he prayed.
We walked up from the water together.

 

Art by Daniel Toby Gonzalez

Jessica Ratigan

Jessica Ratigan received her MFA from New York University’s creative writing program in 2007. Her work has appeared in The Greensboro Review. Ratigan currently lives in Hampton, Virginia, where she teaches English and creative writing at Hampton High School.

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