Heather Miles, Ark

people like to come down here

to flirt with decay

but they don’t stay

some do

some settle in with the sidewalks

city blocks sinking toward

yesterday

life, still

homage to a time long abandoned

by its people

resurrected by ritual

celebration

even as every stained board bears witness

to the claim laid by swamps

at the edges of the ever-drowning world

ever taken

backs against the wall

on the precipice of Mount Sinai

culture clutched in desperate fingers like pearls, sand

remnants of tiny triumphs

lessons slowly unlearned

seeds of a new religion

harvested from a dying day

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