Poem In Which The Past Envies The Present by Joanna Grant

This piece was originally published at The Bluebird Review

By Joanna Grant

Once I read in a book of myth

how some primitive tribes

blessed a new home with a burial

under the threshold, or beneath

the floor of the great room

where the clan would while

away their years, the little

whitening bones their totem,

their surety, their hostage to fortune.

I read of this in my book of myth

and thought to myself of the old house

with its stains, its ratty old carpets,

and my own small self sitting

silent on the crumbling stoop,

and I think yes, I was that child,

that hostage. My blameless former self.


Joanna Grant holds a Ph.D. in British and American literature, specializing in fictional as well as nonfiction travel narratives of the Middle East. She spent eight years in that region, notably two years in Afghanistan, teaching writing, mythology, and public speaking classes to American soldiers and gathering materials for her own memoir, which she is currently completing as part of an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Southern New Hampshire University under the direction of Mark Sundeen. Her poetry and prose have appeared widely in journals including Guernica and Prairie Schooner.


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