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Thursday, September 21, 2006


by Beth Winegarner

It's not so much that I descended
into the earth as that
I became the earth.
In that time Heaven exhaled its breath
into the lungs of the land
and you could not separate the two.
Back then I walked among crops
fed by two fertile rivers
whose names are now the mantras of history books
but otherwise unmentioned.
Now the ground is as dry as the dust
one of their gods -- I forget his name --
said the people would return to.
They deny their own end,
every day shouting and firing their guns
as though their vacant blood
will nourish the land,
as though it matters whose footsteps
running through the streets
of Baghdad, of Babylon, of Sumer
will awaken me.

A native of Northern California, Beth Winegarner is a poet, author and journalist living in San Francisco. She is the author of the non-fiction book Sacred Sonoma; of Dream Brother, a chapbook of stories, poems and collages; and of two upcoming works: Beloved, a novella, and Read the Music, a collection of essays and articles on music. In addition to working as a full-time news reporter, she has freelanced for The San Francisco Chronicle, Addicted to Noise, ROCKRGRL and Crescent Magazine. Her poetry has appeared in Bardsong and Lime Green Bulldozers.