Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol.21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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No one remembers
the preceding
drought, the way the ground
cracked into terrestrial
lightning or how one
might awake
in the night thinking
your husband so close
you could feel his
breath, his eyelashes on your
cheek, only to reach
up and dust away a lichen-
colored moth, thirsty
for dream
tears. And it’s true: I had so many
nightmares then—
I blame the sky,
where the water gathered
its dark skirts,
brushing so low
the treetops were faceless
like our ancestors.
The Earth didn’t have
such deep pockets
then. The water
hadn’t had time to bore
its way into
bedrock. And so God
evaporated it all
into a storm that wouldn’t
break, stagnant
as my grandmother’s yolked
eye. As my husband cut
trees, I’d wait
for their leaves
with condensation.
I’d lick them
as if they were
spoons. He knew
all the animals,
except the two
by two, would
drown, and so
he charted the food
chain, slaughtering
for salt. This job
he gave to me.
And I know why:
he wanted me more
for doom.  

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