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Monday, November 06, 2023


by Paul Hostovsky

Yes, let’s all go back
to where we all came from—
all of us—a few hundred thousand years ago,
back to the Great Rift Valley in Africa
where Mitochondrial Eve 
first opened her skirts 
and had enough daughters in a continuous chain
for her mitochondrial DNA 
to survive. Let’s all go back, every last one of us,
by foot or by boat–whichever way we 
came—no cars, trains, airplanes—
those of us who left
reuniting with those who never left. Plenty
of room now for all of us 
in the vast network of valleys 
that stretches between the Red Sea and Mozambique
where the giant rift is slowly tearing apart–
the Nubian tectonic plate
and the Somalian tectonic plate 
ever so slowly pulling apart, and at the same time
separating from the Arabian plate in the north. 
Let’s meet in Ethiopia where the three plates meet.
And though it will take us all a long time
to get there—8 billion of us and counting—
that’s okay because it will take a long time
for the fractures in the earth’s crust
to open up completely and form
a new ocean. But when they do
we will all be there. And then let's
all line up and hold hands
and go jump in a lake

Paul Hostovsky's poems have won a Pushcart Prize, two Best of the Net Awards, the FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize, and have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, The Writer's Almanac, and the Best American Poetry blog.