Ella Says and Other Poems


Ella Says

There’s no way around the grief
at endings. The autocorrect


on my daughter’s phone replaced:
“the doctors can’t find the IUD”
with “the Devil that is.”


What exquisite algorithm lands us
in the presence of demons?


I am back on my boat plotting
coral reefs and noting the tiny
numbers on charts,


fathoms deep, seconds
between oscillating lights.


No one navigates like that anymore.
We are all tethered puppets to walking stars.
Ella’s face freezes.


The signal’s too remote and there’s
a delay before we can start again.


Sonograms like deep
ocean floors, sea creatures mapped
in the body, whales singing


bats echolocating.
When green and red lights lifted


to mark a harbor’s entrance, I spotted
relief and sadness, dropped anchor, furled sails.
I tell my daughter she can always


come home. Sometimes there’s
no other way to round grief’s equations.


A Theory of Equations

This is a premium subscription story. Please make a $4 donation to access the individual story or a $50 donation to access all the stories in Narrative Backstage for a period of one year.

If you are already a user, but not yet logged in, you may login here.
If you are new to Narrative, signing up is FREE and easy.