Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Death by Water

Death by Water

By Karen Craigo

You imagine the ark
from the outside, the way
most people saw it—shuttered,
huge, already starting to stink.
And there you are beside it,
treading water, reaching out
to touch the unsanded hull,
throat raw from pleading.
Most of us lead dry lives
with a few moist moments
we live for. Which is why
this death is the one
we were born to. Inside
we're water and bones,
and so we bob on the waves
like a bag of sticks. Once,
all humanity was a forest, felled.
You can put your head under
and remember: didn't you surge
into this world on a wave, crying,
your mouth full of salt?

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 82, No. 4 (Winter 2008), p. 120

Biography

a photo of Karen Craigo

Karen Craigo teaches English to international students at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. Her work has appeared in the journals Prairie Schooner, Poetry, Indiana Review, Puerto del Sol, The MacGuffin, and others. Her chapbook, Stone for an Eye, is part of the Wick Poetry Series. She is the nonfiction editor of Mid-American Review, and she also serves as an associate editor of Drury’s national literary journal, Gingko Tree Review.

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