Stone Telling

[HOME]      [ISSUE]      [ARCHIVES]      [ABOUT]      [GUIDELINES]     [BLOG]

Jonah's Widowed Wife

by Susan Rooke

From far down a long throat
she'd hear him call,
crying out to her, to God.
That was always now
the way it was—Jonah
in the distance, hollow.

His dreams would wake her,
and if not his, then hers,
the prophet bellowing
for sunlight and clean air.
He looked to her eyes like
a lumpish gob on sticky sheets,

ambergris clotted from
a sloshing belly, disgorged.
She'd turn away from the fish
smell in his matted hair,
crusted on his sleeping skin.
The smell of spoiled sea.

Outside in the sun he looked
a little waxy, a little grey;
indoors at night he seemed
to flicker with Elijah's flame.
There was no way to know
how much of what she saw

was true, how much
the wishing for an empty bed.
For sweet breath in her nostrils,
no water puddled on her floor,
the taste and shape of salt
no longer in her mouth.

Susan Rooke lives in Austin, Texas. Her poetry has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Main Street Rag, U.S. 1 Worksheets, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, Flutter Poetry Journal and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. She edits the Austin Poetry Society’s monthly MuseLetter, and has just completed The Space Between, the first book of a planned fantasy trilogy. Her enthusiasms lie in the peculiar, including folklore, cryptozoology and Forteana.

Photography: Haunting Sea, by Arno Volkers.