A land so like heaven

A land so like heaven

Published in The Riverbed Review

2 minute read

The bus creeks in a palette of mint and aqua, hurtling
on a road to the unknown, a painful wrenching from

the life we left behind, the sanctuary of home. We drone
like automations, unfeeling. All we now call our own are

the clothes we don and the packsacks we clutch. Dawn spills
on the hills and the earth gleams terracotta as gateways yawn

into an afterworld. Mother’s voice dampens the tension
of this crossing. A land so like heaven, she sighs, who’d think

it’s war time. The river gambols and calls like a friendly Samaritan,
three dhows dancing on its tin skin, lateen sails unfurled like

seraph wings in the sun. A favorable omen, mother whispers,
always on the hunt for meaning, for hints of prophecies hidden

in the mundane. This is how she has navigated life. I’ll morph
into her as I grow – an ardent symbol-seeker, but too young now

to peg hopes on portents, I gaze through the dusty windows
at the pelicans piercing the disc of the sunrise. And soon

it appears in a whirl of wings and water – the fertile crescent
crowning the confluence of two river bodies. The embattled city

shimmers into view. A land so like heaven, mother hums again,
tears careening off her lashes, splashing across my hands.