Bird by Michelle Elvy

(for Kirk)

It is quieter than quiet. A seabird lands on deck, squawks his lonely squawk. It’s his hello but the woman shoos him, tells him to go.

She wants to be alone with the toenail moon and the shadows all around, with the familiar line surrounding her, where dark night touches down on black ocean. The wind is light. The sails sigh and sometimes thwonk. But mostly she is lulled by the sound of nothing, the heave and hush of swell on hull.

Ahead lies the longest line, the measure of her existence. It’s invisible but real, parting the world in two. North and South: will they feel as different as before and after, then and now, life and loss? Will the South Sea soothe her Chesapeake soul? Will Acrux tug like Polaris used to pull? Will ghosts come to her now, whisper stories from shared history? Will they feed her future, warm her salt skin, will her on?

I hear you, brother. I remember when you strummed harmony with your hands. I see your forever grin.

The bird returns. She asks him where he’s from but he flies away and fades to shadow. And she sails on, west by southwest, the taste of tomorrow on her tongue.


Return to This Week’s Flash


Filed under Michelle Elvy

15 responses to “Bird by Michelle Elvy

  1. Speechless. That’s how this struck me. It’s all water and wind and sound and birds and what can a mere mortal say?

  2. Mmm. That was a beautiful experience, reading that. So filled with visual cues and poetry, I felt I was in the midst of a Terrence Malick film. Such vibrant touches – “toenail moon,” sails that go thwonk – but mostly a calming sense of motion forward. Love this.

  3. Walter

    Had to comment, broke my rule – just wonderful in all aspects, I heard that sail, saw that moon, and you elicit feelings universal to anyone suffering a loss, but in words so few can express.

  4. guy

    I hear the waves and the sail 1000 miles inland.

    • guy

      I need to expand on this. Those sounds resonate because they were the right sounds for the piece. You evoke her loss and a sense that life goes on, which is all you need.

      You have a knack for choosing the right sounds for your pieces.

  5. Beautiful, sad, hopeful. Great work.

  6. All my senses evoked in this beautiful tribute. One of your finest. Ever. Peace…

  7. Really felt your world for a moment here, Michelle. Poetic and precise, telling a story of life against a well-drawn setting of forever. Nice.

  8. Len

    so visual i could hear it. really nice.

  9. You opened every sense of mine while reading this. And I was just talking with friends about loss this very morning. Brilliance at its finest.

  10. Martin Brick

    Beautiful use of language. Great work.

  11. Thank you all. It’s been a grand week for flash. I am glad the sights and sounds of this piece brought you into my world, just a little. Thank you for reading — and writing!

  12. Kim Hutchinson

    Wonderful piece, a love letter on many levels.

  13. Thank you for a wonderful story! I love the bird symbolism and the way you interweave it in this story of loss. Divine!

  14. Pingback: Week #32 – Silence | 52|250 A Year of Flash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s