East Wind, New Haven

…and God caused the sea to go back with fierce east wind all night … Exodus 14:21

Why, I wonder,

when the waters parted

did God call in the East wind

to make the miracle real?

Wouldn’t one stoke

of the cosmic comb

through Earth’s snarled scalp

have sufficed?

When I remember

those first steps to freedom

my mind snags

on shoals of incidentals

the welcome wet of the sea floor

kissing my desert-scorched feet,

the rubbery ribbons of kelp

shackling and unshackling my ankles

the cry of the conch I pulled from the sand

and put to my parched lips

the glassy green of waves


like the New Haven River

frozen in mid-tumble.

We spill our wine in remembrance

of the forced sacrifices

our freedom cost.

I can only imagine

the surprise of the starfish,

finding themselves

first exposed, and

then trampled.

And what of the soldiers

conscripted to snag us

plagued with boils

shrouded in darkness

their cattle ill

the children dead

and then to be snarled

in the fearsome moment

when nature’s suspended rules

were restored.

East wind,

New Haven.

Some signs

don’t feel like wonders until

we find ourselves

drowning or delivered.


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