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Last Morning in Tzununá

After Mary Oliver, after her last morning

That morning in the forest

standing in the cool green

passage of unguarded air

unending leaves I felt

Earth’s arms reach

toward the drum of sky

I felt the inspiration

vireos violetears

voice boxes unboxing

the first lung-beats of dawn

each pulse a color

lush as breath as light

seeping soft across the soft

tingling membrane of the lake

It made a blush of fishes rise

streaks of red inflaming

the cool skin of water

How struck we all were

each fish bird nerve

the full kettlebowl of dawn

brewing a stirring symphony

The wild birds said come

let’s spread our songs to the world

The wild birds said come

let’s forget the time they say we’ve lost

The wild birds said let’s live

It was the last morning

and finally I remembered

the bloodlines branching in our veins

our bone-chests nested with loss

How like the forest birds we are

mother and chick enfolded

in tender lichens of birth prayer love

then off to a bedtime of dust

death a dark egg trembling

in the brain’s ancestral roost

Walking in the morning forest

I heard the issue deep within

the Earth and through the trees

the dim orchestra of a world unmet

I attended the memorials

of dirt wept at the burials

of seeds praised the undertaking

of worms I moved past

the fresh carcass of regret

I felt an ancient longing

strike the gourds of rain

The wild birds bore the downfall

and a darkness in their skein

I know I cannot bear

the loss that way

Summer Edward is a Ginkgo Prize longlisted author who writes for both children and adults. She is also a Young Readers’ Editor at Kirkus Reviews, a children’s editor, childhood literacy specialist, former university writing tutor, and the founding editor emeritus of Anansesem, an ezine devoted to covering Caribbean children’s and young adult literature. She holds a Masters of Education degree in Reading, Writing, Literacy from the University of Pennsylvania and studied fiction at the Kelly Writers House. Her writing for adult audiences has appeared in numerous publications and journals internationally, and in the anthologies Bookmarked: New Caribbean Writing (PREE Ink, 2021), New Daughters of Africa (HarperCollins USA, 2019), and New Worlds, Old Ways: Speculative Tales from the Caribbean (Peepal Tree Press, 2016). Her children’s book debut, The Wonder of the World Leaf, was published by HarperCollins UK in 2021, and she has six more children’s books forthcoming, to be published by Heinemann USA in 2022. Summer is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Trinidad and Tobago and divides her time between the two countries. Learn more at www.summeredward.com.