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Poetry  – 

The Landing

after the rain after the water subsided

after landfall when they stepped
from the ship leading each other
one by one stiff-legged and squinting
onto the barren reaches of Ararat
how the air hurt as they breathed it
their senses dulled by stench and
confinement when the ordeal was
over the passage passed when
the voices finally stopped and
there were no more commands
to follow when it was just himself
to answer for after they looked
around and saw everything gone
the place they’d left to save in ruins
washed clean even the last remnants
of trees like bare branches stripped
of their bark and blanched when
there was nothing but echoes and
stones and in the distance bodies
everywhere bodies in great piles
bloated and rotting across the valleys
below them this wasn’t what they
expected for their troubles what
he’d imagined month after month
on the scaffold to start again
the beginning of a second garden
when that dream of renewal ended
when they were tearing apart
the ark for firewood and eating
the animals they could catch
those that hadn’t gone far enough
from the hold after coming ashore
when all they had were scraps pages
of books empty jars for olive oil
a child’s toy boat made of reed
useless things they picked up as
they floated by when there was
nothing to do when the dark filled
their eyes when they grew cold
was there any doubt did anyone
wonder what the point had been
how they could have come
so far only to be abandoned