Jervis Bay Requiem

The trees were yellow with light.
Birds sang triumphantly
as if a shroud
had been lifted off the earth
and the souls of the dead
were being resurrected.

I was lying at the end of the day
between the trees
and an ocean pouring itself
onto the sands of Jervis Bay—
at peace with myself
and the birds that kept me company.

Deceased family and friends
filed past like a dream
I never expected
to remember—looked at me, moved on.
I reached out and tried to touch my parents.
Each, like a ghost, faded.

I remembered what I’d been told
about my birth
in Germany before the end
of World War II—
my mother far from her homeland
in the Ukraine, alone, unaided.

None of that mattered anymore.
The birds fell silent
as if reading my thoughts.
Shadows were falling across me.
The wind began to taste of salt.
I knew it was time to go.

Peter Skrzynecki

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