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Ehrenkranz, Zoe, Ashes to Ashes, Saline Song


Zoe Ehrenkranz
Age: 15, Grade: 10

School Name: Dalton School, New York, NY
Educator: Chris Hood

Category: Poetry

Ashes to Ashes, Saline Song

Ashes to Ashes

We walk in a group of four;
battle formation it seems,
except the rhythm of sneakers 
on gravel is
anything but even and I fall behind,
dumbstruck by the quiet 
of late evening sun

a young boy and his bike chart a line
down the sunlit road, 
he jerks handlebars with a grin,
torquing, twisting-
the bike’s thin wheels spit
fine gravel into the air:
the gritty cloud drifts closer, 
until a filmy layer of dust coats
the roof of my mouth with each breath
and I am surrounded

no glow, no road, no boy, bike, formation, rhythm
no quiet just silence.
and me,
and the dust on the roof of my mouth
filling my body as I inhale

Saline Song

All feet fear the sea.
So I dip mine, sockless, into the glassy blue deep
It gazes back, unflinching;
My legs recoil,
Thump against the wood hull
Soles scrambling for solid surface cower hanging
Above thousands of leagues

But I am pulled
Beneath thin layers of froth and drunken sunlight
Toes tangling with seaweed fingers
Graze the reef’s razor edge,
Scalloped oyster-knights 
Guarding fragile bodies with pearls
As whales waltz below without corsets or bones

I plunge deeper, called by a saline song
Past a forgotten fleet, mariner’s names remembered only
By seabed, their echo of
‘Exodus’ on the current;
Past skeletons of coral cathedrals,
Bleached spires preaching the ancient faith of tides,
While silvered herrings worship the moon.