The Jesus Boat

We discovered one June morning that Mr. Sand had moored a rowboat in his yard under a weeping willow. His three daughters were too bouffant and glowing to play outside anymore, so Linda, Sandy, Jackie, and I became the crew, and shipwrecked our entire before-sixth-grade summer. We named the boat Martha after the last passenger pigeon. Our teacher had told us that Martha died in 1914, a romantic and war-torn time. We were sailors on a foreign sea, and one afternoon, after we’d all fallen asleep in the Martha, I woke to see that the sky had turned bruise-gray, pigeon colored, with a faint peachy orange bleeding through the clouds. Oh, no, I thought, this is when the angel comes to Mary and tells her she is going to have Jesus, the sky strange and whispery. But it was only the end of something, not the beginning, and that is the way it was that whole summer.

*From The Ark and the Bear, finalist in the Floating Bridge Press 2016 Chapbook Competition.

Arlene Naganawa is the author of two chapbooks, Private Graveyard (Gribble Press) and The Scarecrow Bride (Red Bird Chapbooks). Her poetry has appeared in Caketrain, Cider Press Review, Crab Orchard Review, Diner, Floating Bridge Review/Pontoon, Flying Chickadee, New Delta Review, Poetry on Buses, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, The Comstock Review, The Seattle Review, and other publications. She has received Seattle Arts Commissions individual literary arts awards. Much of her work is influenced by childhood summers spent in Whitefish, Montana, and in Seattle, Washington.

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