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+38, by Anthy Strom

Updated: Aug 24, 2021

This piece is part of our “Tails + Tales” teen summer writing initiative inspired by the 2021 national summer reading theme chosen annually by the Collaborative Summer Library Program.

The praying birds

Loud in their mourning

Cry out against the

Vengeful sun

Flaying heat waves cripple

Red bellies in the

Corse sage bushes

Sucked dry and puckering

There is not even enough water

To rot, the sun preserves

As well as ice and salt

My cousin grabs a dead dove

By the tail and stuffs it into

One of her gift bags

We only find it

After she brings it into

The fluorescent soaked

Kitchen (it sits there for days)

It is her sixth birthday and

Not even the crickets have enough

Energy to call out well wishes

We had buried a great uncle the day before

Everyone but the baby is sunburnt and

Dead languid in front of the thussing white fan

Three streamers and a gluten free cake

That is the extent of our celebration

The sun has charred up all my emotions

Maybe I'll be able to feel sorry

In a couple weeks


Anthy Strom (they/them) is a poet from Alberta, Canada. Although they have been writing since they were eleven, it was only in the past year that they began writing poetry. They are currently pursuing a career in Aviation. They specialize in free verse poetry.


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