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Poetry: Keystone & Captive
By Haley Zilberberg
We keep canaries in our bedroom
because we are scared.
Their chirps are servant reminders,
their songs are the cocoon of a fleece blanket in Winter.
When the first two died
until we realized it was probably just the poison
of old age.
When there were no songs left
we plucked their golden feathers
and wear them around our necks like a medal,
like we won first place
in not yet dying.
When luck was dust being swept away
we’d press the plumage
between forefinger and thumb
and blow on the dandelion yellow.
Make a wish.
“No outlet” like a loud shout
on an angry yellow sign
in front of a side street--
just past another sign reading
“Welcome to Captiva Island.”
My hands tugging
at my mother’s sleeve
from the back seat.
She seems so calm
when she tells me
that the sign simply means
there is no land beyond.
The ocean is grey
and slapping the jagged rocks
with hands that seem
to be trying to get high enough
to pull the gravel road down with it.
I close my eyes tight,
convinced we are at the end of the world
the very edge.
The pretty blue and pink houses
manage to escape the slurping tides
separated by the sea by just the rocky road.
My eyes bug out bigger
the closer we get to the screaming yellow sign.
“Isn’t it beautiful,”
my mom says to no one in particular,
admiring houses adorned with conch shells
and sand dollars,
with painted mermaids
and metal sculpted dolphins.
My sister and dad agree
shaking their heads with awe and admiration.
I’m digging my nails into the grey cloth
of the car seat
hoping we don’t fall over the edge of the world,
begging the ocean to just stay put
and not take us with it.
#UnReal #Poem #Poetry #Cage #Canary #EdgeOfTheWorld #Sea #Beach #Island #Ocean #Flight #Escape #Freedom
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