When the funeral I attended over zoom glitched, I stopped singing the lapsed dirge and

scanned the frozen faces, some thousands of miles away. I shut my eyes, letting the echo

of that final lonely note ring through the empty farmhouse and heard it fall flat on the loft floor.


I envisioned a world in which the wildflowers still bloomed & the bees doused themselves

in clouds of yellow pollen, dusting the earth and spreading new life. Wild viburnum

blossoming its white flowers on the far hill and cattails swaying on the bank of the stocked pond.


When I opened my eyes, I forced myself into the cold of early spring and onto the wet dock.

There, I saw the resident blue heron, standing still on her one good leg; the stump of the other

tucked away under her smooth gray feathers. That leg was severed at the tarsus long ago.


She craned her neck over the pond, transfixed with its contents. The red-winged blackbird

whistled a glitchy tune and swayed as the cattails bent in the wind. The water lapped

the dock slightly; for a moment, the melody and rhythm worked together to move time forward.


The heron struck her weathered beak into the darkness, gobbling up some unfortunate fish from

its depths. All the while, those tiny spring peepers chimed on in the brush, cooing and whistling

their night-soaked song as a unified chorus, not one lonely note to be found.