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Say the morning prayers when you wake midway
Through a red-eye from Atlanta and raise
The blind expecting night but instead find day-

Light washing over North Atlantic’s face,
Nothing to swallow you, just shallow
Curve of horizon, place that is no place,

A few rocks, circles of spume, their thin shadow.
Knife-edged slit of daylight travels across
Your companions’ faces, puffy and sallow

After the abbreviated night, errant dash
Between dotted windows on opposite wall,
Code in negative, white on tenebrous,

Which you try to read by light of your shawl
Flashing like a second moon, phylactery strap
Descending your arm in a slow spiral.

This morning like every morning, you wrap
Yourself in your shawl’s four wings. They are
Holding for now, flexing down and up

In bumpy air. You draw them close, remember
Your companions’ faces, their in-and-out swerve
Through thin, white beam of morning prayer,

Blind slit open to ocean, horizon’s curve,
Rocks in the water, seabirds’ tilt and weave
Around them, their raucous cries, the words

You find yourself saying now, flex and give
Of wings, thousands of them. You want to live.



Ben Corvo’s poems have appeared in Salmagundi, Magma, Lehrhaus, Appalachia, and elsewhere.  He presently lives, works, and writes in Jerusalem.




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