( An Island off the Georgia coast, 1780)
A heron shrugs in the wind;
her wings a fringed shawl
reminding me it’s cold.
I need one of my own.
The candle is almost done,
shriveled beneath its greater flame
Like the darkness
beneath dawn widening
over this field — and beyond the marsh,
the sea moves north
where my husband’s encamped.
He’s waiting for the canons to come
but says their supplies are low. A sudden lack
of gun powder. They’re casting spears
from pikes and spare metal.
Everything is threadbare.
And here on the island, I tell him
Spanish moss is thinning
on the cypress. Ghostly threads
out of use, lacking a needle
or purpose. So much like the ones
I found on my hem. Fibers of linen
or wool, the old Gullah woman
swears they have meaning, put there
by spirits to show something
needs to be stitched.
The wind stills and the bird
plunges her beak
into shallow water, grabs nothing
but a string of seaweed
When it dries, it will turn
reddish brown. The color of a bloodstain,
the tint of his hair ( last falling)
against my hand in the sun.