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