A Bride for a Flood

by Sara Elkamel

a duplex after Jericho Brown

They took me to the north-flowing river
Running through the kingdom like a nerve.

            The kingdom had some nerve allowing it.
            I was to wed the river, make a fast home in its milk.

I had no interest in weddings or a home of milk.
Still god’s men beat drums until their fingers bled.

            Drums bled like a bride begging an unnamed god.
            He had no name because all the names were his.

I had no name for what I wanted. Not this. Desire
As sudden as cool milk in the breasts of a virgin.

            Every year they packed the breasts of a virgin
            Like prayers into a white lotus corset.

I had no interest in prayer. Wailing in white
lotus corsets, they took us to the north-flowing river.

Photo credit: Abdullah Helwa