/m hurlow

Fedallah’s Last Prophecy


Heaved back to shore with
the sailors’ bones,
I can tell you, dear ones,
work on dry land
had obligations.  A contrarian
breeze and every tower falls.  Blame grows
a black flower.  The proud brick is pale dust.
The ambition of the sea crests higher
than our will, but we still seek the water.

A river narrows, gathers speed.  Step in,
Daughter and Son.  Walk as far as patience
and purpose will take you, then return
to the current’s retreat on this shore
of pebbles and fossils. If you travelled
far enough, you can make your own errors,
choose your own burdens, their shape and size.

You will make one more journey, the wind
pushing you back, and you will sing one
more incantation so my sea-bound
soul lifts into the air, and you chant praise,
praise for a firmament without prophets.


Marcia L. Hurlow is the author of six collections of poetry. Her most recent chapbook, Brushstrokes on Water, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, and her full-length collection, Anomie, won the Edges Prize at WordTech. Her poems have appeared in various journals, including Poetry, Poetry Northwest, Nimrod, Poetry Wales, Stand, Miramar, The Iconoclast, Hawaii Pacific Review, Malahat Review, and Mudfish.