Island Dialect

by Michael Dylan Welch, Abigail Friedman, and Tanya McDonald

First published in Blithe Spirit 29:3, August 2019, page 45. Originally written on the Sunday after Seattle’s 2011 Haiku North America conference, on 7 August 2011, at the northwest tip of Blake Island, Washington as the sun burned off the morning fog.

woodland trail—

a crow’s caw pauses

our conversation Michael

the chatter of killdeer

at the water’s edge Abigail

clinking mast cables—

terns slicing

the late-morning fog Tanya

there, not there

the Pacific wren’s song Michael

plunging my feet

into the chilly bay—

the cry of gulls Abigail

the island dialect

of a song sparrow Tanya