“The Last Atlantean” by David Henson

Atlantis Without Birds

Marble women in gardens 
used to reach into the sky 
and gather birds by the armful. 

Raindrops brought them 
down in scores to swallow 
worms they turned into wingbeats. 

You could set aside a cut 
of hot bread for a moment, 
and it would end up scenting 
the highest branches. 

Wind gusting in their blood 
must have told the birds to flee. 

At about this time every evening, 
they’d glide into the trees 
like night air filling your lungs. 

The Moon From Atlantis

The moon is what’s hauling
the sea over the land
according to our scientists.

For years I’ve watched the same moon 
heave itself over the mountains. 
I’ve seen flat leaves on cornstalks 
and even the arc of a leaping dolphin 
black against it. 

I’ve held it in palmfuls 
of shining wet sand. 
Under the moon’s soft light, I’ve buried 
my head in my hands 
and rubbed the lines from my face. 

Tonight so full the sky creaks, 
the moon lumbers through the trees, 
breaking off the branches. 

The Day the Ships Left

Today, 
as the others left, 
I watched 
the horizon slowly 
eat their sails. 
They saw it swallow
a continent.


David Henson and his wife have lived in Belgium and Hong Kong over the years and now reside in Illinois, USA. His work has been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, Best Small Fictions and Best of the Net and has appeared in numerous print and online journals including The Metaworker, Fictive Dream, Pithead Chapel and Moonpark Review. His website is http://writings217.wordpress.com. His Twitter is @annalou8.

Image Credit

This poem appeared in Pikestaff Forum #5, Spring, 1983.

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