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Song of the Exiles

By Holly Karapetkova

There never was a garden
only a leaving:
miles and miles
of footprints in the dirt.

In the beginning--
the shattered sun, the wind,
and nothing left but our shadows
sifting through the dust behind us.

When we turned
we did not turn to salt.
When we turned
there was nothing behind us to burn,

nothing to return to,
though who could blame us for turning
with only the long days ahead,
tongues tripping in the dirt.

They said we didn't belong.   
They blamed us   
for leaving the garden
which never was or would be.

Where could we go,
we who had come from nowhere
and hence could not

Added: Thursday, November 17, 2016  /  Used with permission.
Holly Karapetkova

Holly Karapetkova's poetry, prose, and translations from the Bulgarian have appeared in Alaska Quarterly Review, Prairie Schooner, Drunken Boat, and many other places. Her first book, Words We Might One Day Say, won the Washington Writers' Publishing House Poetry Prize, and her second book, Towline, won the Vern Rutsala Poetry Contest and is forthcoming from Cloudbank Books. She is also the author of over 20 books for children and young adults. She teaches at Marymount University, where she currently chairs the English department.

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