Palm Funeral

A line of backlit palm trees, without fronds.The tallest palm on the atoll lost its fronds long before falling. King tides and storm surges had breached the walls, poisoned it with salt. A death before death, like my father’s dementia. Ghost trees, we called them. Dead zones of headless palms stood everywhere, resembling broken marble columns. And when the last typhoon came through, it took our giant.

We carried its pale body down Lagoon Road to St. Brendan’s, in procession, for here was a holy thing. Some demanded mass. I merely desired confession. The poison—the world’s rising waters—not our original sin. Just our final one.

Adam Schuitema is the author of the novel Haymaker and the short-story collections Freshwater Boys and The Things We Do That Make No Sense.

Photo Credit: Wan Taquddin

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