Fiddler crabs scatter at my feet.
They lug around too big claws,
yet they are nimble like
tiny guerrilla warriors
dodging in and out of holes
and among clumps of grass,
fleeing my shadow
beneath the eyes of a benevolent God.
I hear the breath of the earth surround me
as mud bubbles pop they sound
like the tension released
between my own two tucked in lips:
the opposite of a kiss. Pop. Pop. Everywhere. Pop. The ground sighs and the water reeds titter.
All around me the sky is silent.
The air smells like rotting leaf litter
and salt water mixed together.
I notice the crow,
dead long enough not to smell,
but recently enough that crabs
explore the caverns of the corpse
identifiable only by black-blue feathers
and a mangled beak.
I crouch down and
my mother’s resident voice in my head
reminds me of the diseases carried by birds
and by the dead.
I note his wings are poised to fly,
and fold my hands together.
I glimpse the eyeless abyss
and wonder what it is
that makes birds fall from the sky.
Madison Rahner is an undergraduate English major at Coastal Carolina University with plans to pursue a higher degree in creative writing. She currently works as a barista and has been previously published in the Oyster River Pages. Her other passions include beekeeping, embroidery, and cats.