So you died, caught, I'll bet
in that gillnet out there
held up by those big, orange balls
stretched half way across Tulalip Bay.
The Indian fisherman had to haul you up
then disentangle you
like so much stringy, green kelp.
It's unnatural that you should drown
that way, a perfect invention to water,
your webbed feet so far aft
you're helpless on land.
I'm sure I watched you the day before
yesterday, working the quiet shallows
around the boat dock
straight out from my little cabin.
Listen bird, I'm past making death sad.
The tide has no time for wakes
or tragedies. We're either coming in
or going out. It's like that.
The soul for a while boxed up
in feathers or this frail,
human body of mine.
I'm just taking a little time out
from my walk because, well,
your drowned body is here
at my feet, even in death
Copyright © 2001
Reprinted by permission of the author
from Willow Springs
Tom Crawford's books are I Want To Say Listen (Ironwood Press), If It Weren't for Trees (Lynx House Press), Lauds (Cedar House Books), China Dancing (Cedar House Books), and The Temple On Monday (Eastern Washington University Press). He has received Two NEAs for poetry and the Oregon Literary Book Award for Lauds in 1996.