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As the Mosque of Sky

                          Christchurch earthquake, 2011
                          Christchurch mosque shootings, 2019

A shallow river winds its narrow way 
through Christchurch. Slow, serene, 
the water bends below the trees and bridges, 

bricks and glass. It weaves the shadows,
and once received my daughter’s, that bright day 
years ago she found her face in its own dark 

halo. The placid water seemed to know 
its visitor, and the comfort it could offer, 
playing natural mirror to a soul far from home. 

The river had seen grief’s hollow distances 
behind the eyes come to look for their lost
through the ripples, those rattled weeks after 

the murderous quake. We ourselves toured 
the rubble heaps, stores in shipping containers
blowtorched for windows, doors, and we’d come 

out, found a bridge, rested our elbows 
on its old stone wall. My daughter leaned
over the water, discovered her underself 

under the flow, and I thought, the Avon 
must drink all streams—snowmelt and rain, 
tears of mothers, spit and piss of drunks

and water of the blood of birds businessmen 
and preachers. The river must make fluid peace 
of the murdered and all of their murderers. 

Today I wondered of Christchurch, now 
among the others—Pittsburgh, Parkland, 
Dhaka, Thousand Oaks…do ghosts wander

where my daughter’s shadow floats? In the church 
of rivers as much as the mosque of sky, 
do spirits usher others in

from our bloody deltas, past all the ruptures 
in one countless-colored human skin?

​                                                                                    —Jed Myers

Jed Myers began seeking publication of his poems after the events of 9/11/01. He is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press), and four chapbooks, including Dark’s Channels (Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award) and Love’s Test (Grayson Books Chapbook Competition). Recent recognitions include The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Prize and The Tishman Review’s Millay Prize. Recent poems appear in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, The American Journal of Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, Solstice, and elsewhere. Jed is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.