We’ve Lost So Much
You could smell the dead fish
and grit-thick coffee from a mile
away, and the old women stared
out to sea, hoping for the dead’s
safe return, scraping scales, cleaning
feathered flesh one filet at a time,
telling stories about their father’s
friend’s cousin’s lovers, the taste
of the clouds, the smell of their sons’
heartbeats and sometimes, reprieve:
obsidian eggs, pearled in a young
mother’s belly—all gifts, unhatched,
that were once devoured.
Ali Salzmann teaches at Texas State University and Austin Community College.