Poetica Magazine

Poetica Magazine


by Amy Small-McKinney



I will use this pencil to draw you back to me.

If not to this world, then inside, rising

like a river or bones Ezekiel brought back to life. 

Never a conclusion, always imagination’s axle

rotating in the wheel’s center.


This is not about Ezekiel, exiled to Babylon,

his crazy visions almost hidden from the canons.

This is not about Ishmael

who lived to be one hundred thirty-seven, child

of Abraham and Hagar.


Hagar, a mere handmaiden to Sarah, chosen by Sarah.

Is this about a slave purchased to carry a son?

How the seed grew inside of her, how

the seed grew like mastika sapping from a tree.

A tree becomes a forest of believers.


How Hagar and Ishmael, forsaken, were dying

in a wilderness, until an angel showed

her the well, the angel

reclining by her, O for the thirsty.


O for you, my beloved, who did not live to one hundred thirty-seven,

yielded to fluids cresting inside your brain, pushing

against its walls, until there was no memory,

body and memory drowning in your own terrace of fluids.


Terrace, in Old French, rubble, in Latin,

terra, earth, akin to torrere: to parch, to thirst.

When you were dying, I used an orange sponge

to dab ice onto your lips.


How EMTs had come and gone so many times

to lift you, we brought in the metal bed, its locking casters.

No more sirens, except the one calling to you.


Yes, this year is over. Yes, I etch absence—

in grief’s desert, I wait for Ezekiel to find me.