New Directions





We stared for hours at the eastern horizon 

looking for land.

Some forgot their mal de mer and

starvation.

Everybody came on deck and

gawked.

The sky’s dirty skirting board was land.

As the bow rose and bowed,

people wept.


Late in the day

there was nothing but coast

north and south, as far as we saw.

We bumped into Australia,

the kids jumped overboard.

And the rest of us waded in and fell down

on the beach,

and thanked Allah.


We got our sandyland legs,

and stood to watch

the stern of the boat dipping off to the west.

They had forgotten to leave our water.

We climbed the ridge and looked to the east:

nothing but sand and

little dirty tufts.


The imam said we should go south—

he pointed with his knife;

the women were for north.

We slept on it.

We went south.



Copyright ©  Peter Twohig. All rights reserved.