“ghazal for aguas del sur” by Kate Shannon

once, mothers waited for their dead children in damp bodies until
no more noises crept from their wind-polyp’d throats, until

a dozen moons passed, a skinned and rising tide
that never overtakes them until

they mean to be taken, a hundred crooked men at their feet
blood-gravied bodies bobbing helplessly until

they are devoured by stranger beasts than them who try to make bones
of the mothers too but are torn to shreds by their sea-crepe’d skin until

there are none left, a helplessness of viscera in the murky water
and the mothers, as though by a stimulus of levers, sink deeply until

they meet the unbloodied floor,
their arms locking with all of the other mothers who once waited until

there was nothing left to wait for and who waited longer still
with nothing left to them but a slick & porous grove of shale’d un-fragileness until

more of them come, the sea-monster’d men, a wickedness of ships
that do not make it to shore, who do not steal more babes in the night until

weeping mothers become to calcite harpoons, a terror of sharpness
in the calm water, making uneasy corpses of the diseased and bloated men until

there are none left to stir the sleeping children, their scared mothers.


Kate Shannon is a farmer, editor, and poet from Upstate NY where she lives with her partner and too many dark secrets. She writes speculative poetry and fiction and hopes to not be eaten by one of her hideous creations. Her publication history includes The Mithila Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, and High Shelf Press.

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