The eastern shore of the old bay lake
teems with sound.
She calls their names as the swans glide by
and the longing rains down.
Miss Mary’s path is her husband’s will,
her bonnet drags the ground.
My man and I dug his blood canal
where our four darlings drowned.
Night will close the door.
No one has to know.
My heart, it comes here for you.
In the one-room house by the swamp rice field,
my only daughter groans.
The son I birthed at the break of day
is not hers alone.
Hundreds of us serve at her command.
We watch her eyes.
Cedar and rose in the crystal vase
and the last cougar cries.
Bodies black and white, souls of purest gold.
Grief visits all in time and women most of all.
Sons of sons, granddaughters dear,
we lost our own.
Many years from now, those who love us still
will bring them home.
And the peat will choke the lake.
The swans refuse to call.
My wild heart, it comes here for you.