what we did while waiting for the rain

we are in an ark

not a passport in hand

    tinted windows and air the taste of spit  

and body oils     the pregnant woman

squeezes her abdomen     the child will not  die

in the middle of a journey   too weak   to jump  

into the sharks     no emissary in sight   we want to sing

can barely clap     a groan rises from our ribs  broken

we lick the sweat     from each other’s sweat  the mother chews

on her placenta  she wants to share  but  we allow her greed

we laugh  the wind    responds     

we pray  into    our mouths  only the breath    in God  in us

makes music    of our meditations  we mark the distance

from  our mother’s     nipples with these    fragile fingernails

what we see     in each other’s spirits  is fear    I must have

two left    the Liverpool rocks roll like they fell from an archangel’s

vineyard    what praise can we give    with bound hands

they still     out talk      with a reason    of existence

in pairs     they drag us     out like animals

Copyright © 2022 by Afua Ansong. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on October 13, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.