Bird of Diaspora

Wendy Howe


The wicked have burned our books
and with the charred words, they have turned
our soul to ash. If there is mercy
among the elements, let a spirit
paste and mold those cinders
into a mourning dove. Then leave the bird
to nest in a fig tree. When the weather warms,
and the humid wind causes its feathers
to molt, there will be whisperings
of who we were:

the woman  who stitched
linen and leather in her house
to make a living,

who braided her hair and bread
into something strong and beautiful,
a lattice work
of  heritage and wheat,

the man who studied
the precision of scales
and the text of ancient scrolls,

who lit an oil lamp
and played his songs of experience
on a violin,
the child who spun
his or her mind
into a universe of letters and stars,

who learned how to permeate
and assume the shape
of unknown things like water

and people who thought
they could blend
into a city of new ideas

while the silt of Israel
was still settling
in the riverbed of their veins.



Wendy Howe is an English teacher and freelance writer who lives in Southern California Her poetry reflects her interest in myth, diverse landscapes and ancient cultures. Over the years, she has been published in an assortment of journals both on-line and in print. Among them: The Linnet’s Wings, Ariadne’s Thread, Mirror Dance, Strange Horizons, Niteblade, Goblin Fruit, Mythic Delirium, Scheherezade’s Bequest, and Yellow Medicine Review. Some of her latest work will be forthcoming in The Peacock Journal and Poetry Pacific.