Final Lament ~ prosery

Final Lament

I paddle along a river on a quiet morning. Except for the hoarse “kee-eeeee-arr” of a hawk high overhead, the air is as still as the water. Drifting between the shadow of overhanging trees and the light of open air, I see a lone Mourning Dove on a branch of a dead oak at the edge of a small bluff. The silence is broken as it seems to address me with its lamenting call. As plaintive as it sounds, there is a comforting tone to it, perfect for the serenity of the morning.

I drift past, leaving it well behind me, when, far away, an interrupted cry reaches me. Dragging my paddle to the side of my kayak, I swing around to see the hawk dropping to the ground beneath the oak, dove tightly clutched, reminding me of the fragile nature of my surroundings.

This bit of flash fiction is my response to Prosery #1, presented by Björn at dVerse. With Prosery, the challenge is to write a piece of flash fiction with a 144-word limit. Included in the bit of prose is to be a complete line from a poem. For Prosery #1, the line to be included is “When far away an interrupted cry” from Robert Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night.” My flash fiction also meets the additional challenge of hitting the 144-word mark, exactly.

Image source: The Cornell Lab of Ornithology (edited here)

27 thoughts on “Final Lament ~ prosery

  1. Nothing like the screams of prey in a predator’s grip. It’s actually one of my favorite sounds–a wake-up call. I love the presentiment of the dead oak, the plaintive cry, even the name of the mourning dove, all observed by the poetic paddler before the strike.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I almost got a sense that the single mourning dove was mourning the loss of its mate, as they usually travel in pairs, which made it vulnerable to the swoop of the hawk. I appreciate the skill you wrote this with, pulling the reader into the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. As disturbing as a sight like that may be, it’s all part of the cycle. I had a friend who stressed over the fact that a hawk had spent the previous week feeding at her bird feeder. She felt better about it when the hawk eliminated a nuisance squirrel. The hawk finally moved on.


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