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?

(Today’s poem originally appeared in Prairie Schooner and appears here today with permission from the poet.)

Karen Craigo teaches English to international students at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. A chapbook, Someone Could Build Something Here, was just published by Winged City Chapbook Press, and her previous chapbook, Stone for an Eye, is part of the Wick Poetry Series. Her work has appeared in the journals Atticus Review, Poetry, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, Puerto del Sol, The MacGuffin, and others.

Editor’s Note: Against a backdrop of biblical associations, Karen Craigo uses startling, hauntingly beautiful, idiosyncratic imagery to offer incredible insight into the human experience. As readers we are enveloped in that which is at once as old as time and as present as the moment at hand. With Craigo’s words, we are flooded. We, as individuals and as a people, are drowning. But so, too, are we called upon to confront the memory that we surged “into this world on a wave, crying,” our mouths “full of salt.”

Want to read more by and about Karen Craigo?
Buy Someone Could Build Something Here from Winged City Chapbook Press
Atticus Review
Blue Lyra Review


  1. ‘~~~Most of us lead dry lives, with a few moist moments~~~’ Nice.
    I’m reminded, yet again, of the pot of water boiled already or heating up to a boil, with the frog jumping out or staying in.


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