Poetry, Sarah Foote
Saying Kaddish for a Bird
To put her body in the garden seemed fitting.
A return to Eden, small ochre beak
into leafy brush. The dirt surrounded
her like water. Wings for oars, rowing
motionless through soil. It sounded ridiculous,
but I wanted to honor her in prayer. Between
gulping sobs, I pondered appropriateness.
Not even a proper convert yet, my tongue
pushed and fumbled the Hebrew and Aramaic,
twisted like earthworms reaching for roots,
seeking transcendence through transliteration.
Elephants are matriarchal,
their blood cords the pachydermal
how to mud, sun, trumpet. How to survive.
There are 40,000 muscles in a single trunk.
How dare we assume we share
the same senses? To what extent
do we even compare?
Bonded familially, we are still more
similar than dissimilar to them, but
it is impossible to speak of elephants
without murmurings of poachers
left on our dust-dry lips.
Bloodlust interrupts bloodlines,
carves trauma into thick skin
and lineage, as in ivory.
Sarah A. Foote (she/her) is a thirty-something bisexual Jew who used to think she would live on a farm when she grew old. She maintained she wouldn’t die alone since she planned to have many horses, but would have no husband because "he might impede [her] writing career." Decades later, she settled in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, with her wife and three animals (none of them horses). She spends her days trying to get affordable housing built across the state, drinking cortados whenever possible, and playing music in an outlaw-country-post-rock outfit called Ghost Tooth.