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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 3, September 2012

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Ferris Gilli
Marietta, Georgia, USA


A Pelican Dives

Waves pound the shore as we crowd under the roof of an open pavilion. On a cloth-covered table, orchids and lilies surround his photo and the receptacle for his remains. I am told he had emphysema for years but wouldn’t stop smoking. And that his ex-wife took him back into her care when he was dying. The members of his extended family are often not on speaking terms with one another. One or two shut themselves off from time to time, to return eventually for a truce. Today a red lacquered box has brought them together beside the turquoise sea.

whispered regrets
a broken sand dollar
with its five white doves

There are distractions, but perhaps only for me. Through the eulogy, children and anglers laugh and shout in the surf. A man in the neighboring shelter rewinds his turban and lies supine on a bench. Wind rustles the palm fronds that shade the deceased’s favorite spot. The recorded music skips a beat.

“hallelujah . . .”
a boy fishes a winged kite
down from the sky

The photograph is of a tall, handsome man. He was at Pearl when the bombs fell and he made it fine through that; lived to raise children, a few not his own. After the ceremony, a daughter reveals the plan for what's left.

ashes on the wind
far beyond the pleasure boat
a pelican dives

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