Salt Spring Island

She hums a song from the Sacred Harp
How long dear savior, Oh how long
Shall this bright hour delay
as she paints her dead son.

In between an uncatchable
Banty rooster observes
a hanging and one day
she spends an entire morning
whistling up dead pharaohs
in staccato bunches.

Her name is Leland,
after her grandfather —
a former slave. People
call her Lilly. She lives on
an infernal scrap of farmland
on Salt Spring island.

In between she winds a tourniquet,
eats Juniper berries and chalk,
looks down from her high window
and paints what she sees.

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