Ker Ys (after Baton Rouge, after St. George)

Image of Short Fiction & Poetry Contest - 2019


Shotgun houses
with mouths agape
gasping for air

Two fires alight
Landing like birds
One in each steeple
Of a Baptist church
On either side of town

The city
clasped in an open oyster
slipping into the gulf

All prayers for rain
answered in full

At the advice of a saint,
Gradlon fled on horseback
Before the sea
Swallowed his home.
Wading at the edge of dry land
He watched the cathedrals engulfed,
White clapboard splitting,
Blackbirds flying toward anything afloat.
All of this he recorded in scrimshaw,
Not knowing what else to do.

A gull squawks
in time
with the waves

An oyster sings
Tirra Lirra Tirra Lirra
in harmony

Gradlon tries
to write this song down
for the drowned

What else is there to do?