A woman with seven daughters
and no husband
lives down by the sea
on a windswept island
bare of trees.

Her old house was built
on the sea side
and took the full force
of each storm
and the salt carried
from the waves.

The house was once
a church where slaves
congregated back before
storm tossed tides
washed free the island
from the land.

The woman did her best
to preserve the prints of hands
that made the dyestuff indigo
and listened to the seashells’ whispers
for those people’s stories.

Her seven daughters
swim so well at school
that the towns people
claim they have gills
and the sea salt
that dries on their skin
are scales.

The woman’s favorite time
is when the sky blooms with rain
so she may watch droplets
splash to waves
in some nautical
native tongue.

copyright © 2022 Kenneth P. Gurney

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