“The Seagull Gives her Life” by Jane Beal

She has flown far from shore,
but the sea is still calling her.

She sees the men in the water and
smells the wreckage of a B-17 bomber.

She smells their flesh, burning in the sun
that shines hot over the water, the human sweat

evaporating into the air –
the hunger.

These men are going to die
if I do not give them my life. 

So this is why I was brought here,
listening to the siren-song of the sea – 

so far from shore,
so far from home. 

She glides down to one man in a raft,
and gently lands on the hat covering

his dreaming face, and as he moves
his feeble hand toward her, and she feels

her death in his out-stretched fingers,
she does not try to fly away.

II.

Moments later, her spirit hovers above them,
watching them eat her flesh

and then, after a while, using her intestines
as bait to catch fish and eat them, too.

III.

Years later, flying free in heaven, she looks down
on Captain Eddie Rickenbacker

as he strolls to the pier with a shrimp-bucket
and feeds delicacies to swooping seagulls –

her daughters, her sons, her granddaughters
and grandsons, her great-granddaughters

and great-grandsons, who are thankful to Eddie
just as Eddie is thankful to her.

IV.

At the turn of the twenty-first century,
she hears the whisper of her story

written in books, preached from pulpits,
and told by a tired man to his little sister,

who opens her eyes in wonder
and immediately sees the sacrifice

was like the God-Man’s, who came down
to die, and so to save the whole, suffering world.

Jane Beal
from Uncaged (in progress)

seagull

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