Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Down the Dead River

by Jessica Otto

Her feet had been stolen,
her head separated
from at the neck and
her teeth fell out long ago.

He was someone no one
bothered to read about
but he got on
the boat
shoulders bare
in sunlight.

The stone ferrymen speak
unpronounceable words
to hoist their cargo along
the shadowed Nile.

She sits on a wooden bench
drinking red tea, amethyst
scarabs clotting at her neck;
they equal fertility
and ageless transformation.
She views her afterlife
with shriveled eyes.

He dangles his feet,
like a child,
over the edge looking
for crocodiles.
Grey water swells
and reaches up,
sputtering for the last
imaginings of life,
the last tug
at an ankle.

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