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a literary journal published by the Black Earth Institute dedicated to re-forging the links between art and spirit, earth and society

Section 2: Water/Blood/Being

Hila Ratzabi

Hila Ratzabi
Of the veritable ocean
Google Earth
Of the veritable ocean
Of the veritable ocean  I trace the jagged residue  With my feet. 			  The sand   Presses grains to skin  And I press back so the sand  Feels wanted. 			   Waves fall  Like the word what––  What what   Is happening  To me? 	 And how  How how will all  My creatures go?  Who by oil, who  By bomb  Who by storm   Who by dry land	By famine  Who by what  What water 	   I feel the people  Wade and wallow  Into my open throat I cough a question  And swallow it back  Which one of you  Can hear me?  Water pools around my feet  Singing you you––  But who?
Google Earth
Airplane wing dips into clouds
Piled up like mountains.
Earth cut in rectangles of green
And scorched brown.
Water apportioned below,
Snaking through golf courses,
Plopped into swimming pools.
Trees huddle together in squares.
On the ground, roofs keep us
From looking up.
One day there will be no rain.
One day we’ll be able to google earth
From somewhere else.
We will see pictures of everglades, alligators, frogs.
We will part the clouds with our hands
And look down at all that wildness sectioned off.
We will reach our arms to the bottom of the sea
And pull out the stringy-haired gods.
They will blink green eyes as the salt water drips
From their algaed heads.
They will shake their faces as the earth trembles,
Looking at us for the first time.
Hila Ratzabi was selected by Adrienne Rich as a recipient of a National Writers Union Poetry Prize, has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and received an Amy Award. She was a finalist in the Narrative Fifth Annual Poetry Contest (2013). She is the author of the chapbook The Apparatus of Visible Things (Finishing Line Press). Her poetry is published or forthcoming in The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, Narrative, Alaska Quarterly Review, Drunken Boat, The Normal School, H_NGM_N, Cortland Review, and others. She has received scholarships and fellowships to the Willapa Bay AiR residency, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Arctic Circle Residency. She is the editor-in-chief of Storyscape. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College, and lives in Philadelphia where she founded the Red Sofa Salon & Poetry Workshop.

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