He Spoke from the Blackboard, Enlivened by the Cross Hanging Above His Head

by Margot Melançon

This is a type of muck, he said to us,
it’s like muck that collects on house bottoms
after floods have dredged it up, dragged it in.
Splatters of mud, he said, borne onto earth
by the black-bottomed ocean. Living mud—
it beat through the veins of Sodom’s people.
He said what they did was like eating dirt—
unhealthy, unholy, unnatural.
So then flame had to burn the mud to ash.
So then the ocean had to be shaken
up by its roots so it could swathe the land
and its waters reclaim what had been borne up
from the bottom. He spoke. I listened, dirt
pressed under my tongue, kept from falling out.

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