Drawing her arms
through the salt sea
legs straining
giving her body
to the task

she swam among
the floating limbs
reaching after them
before they turned
to sink slowly down

to shocked shipwrecks
astonished clams
coming to rest in a cloud
of silt, the softly yielding
residue of other remains.

She heard no sound
but her breath
and the slip slosh of sea
as she ploughed the
surface of their sorrow.

She thought
she could retrieve them
gather the fragments
siphon up the spilt blood
return to all donors

bring mothers
their sons and daughters
wrapped in seaweed

take this leg, uprooted,
to the young man
Here it is yours, she’d say.
I found it in the sea.

So deep, so wide the wound
of flesh and bone
so piercing, urgent the ache
to be re- membered.


for those whose lives have been blown apart
for those who must pick up the pieces

Loretta F. Ross, 2013

6 responses to “Severed

  1. This is beautiful, though so very sad! I pray for those who lost family or friends and those who are suffering from any life changing injuries.

  2. Coming at this by way of the sea evaded my usual tragedy defenses.
    What a strong re-membrance!

  3. We each have different ways of responding to last week. Mine is sermon & prayer. This poem caught me off guard, startling me with these images. It will stay with me!


    Oh Loretta…..what a deeply touching prayer for our hearts today, as we continue to grieve the losses from the Boston Marathon bombings. Thank you for these haunting words of truth written to deadly power. I caught the 6:00 am flight last Monday to arrive in Boston at 9:30, but by 3:00 the airport was closed, so I am grateful to have slipped in before the tragedy happened. My two grandgirls and their dad live in Taunton, south of Boston. The girls had the week off for spring break, and by the time we finished lunch and were enjoying each other’s company, we saw on TV the first awful reports of the blasts. We had planned to go into the city to enjoy the Science Museum, but with the city on lockdown, we had a stay-cation for the entire week. Prayers are coming your way for continued success in guiding our spirits closer with the Holy Spirit…..every blessing, Barbara Peter

  5. Lovely. Thank you

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