2002 T.E. Ballard. All rights reserved.

Why Jonah's Wife Was Never Found

An ordinary woman does not die quietly,
she holds her breath,
dives under, waits
waits for something bigger
than what she is avoiding.

She builds a home
between ribcage and whale.
A life of white bone, hollow fortress
of where she unpacks her bags.

Here a man enters,
one who remembers her naked and young,
sitting on rocks
breaking shells of crab with her red teeth.
It is here they enter each other
while the beast rocks them to sleep.

The man will not stay,
his legs will ache and green fish
will grow out of his tongue.

Only a woman
can live in the belly of a whale.
She is used to lying perfectly still
while the weight of another
takes her away.

2002 T.E. Ballard.  All rights reserved. 


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