The Fissure People

by Khalil Elayan

A fissure in the gorge                                                                                                                              

was the last thing I expected but                                                                                                                        

as the water issued forth


in a whirlpool of decadent clarity                                                                                                                            

I felt the suffering of centuries in a place                                                                                                  

called the tear duct of infinite sorrow                                                                                                          

by a tribe that predated the Cherokee.


Tadpoles the color of kidneys                                                                                                            

underwater skipped away from my                                                                                                              

wading legs that knew not their


trajectory in swirling waters that                                                                                                            

superseded my own force. This is where                                                                                                              

nature rewrites my history, where it                                                                                                                      

erodes as it evolves.


Geology says the Appalachians are                                                                                                                  

older than the Rockies and I quiver at the path                                                                                                    

an ancient arrow arched its way towards


deer or elk. It is written in stone                                                                                                                          

how old the dead may be and how little                                                                                                                  

the living remember of ancient cracks in                                                                                                                      

their genealogy.


The arrow finds its home in the base of my                                                                                                  

memory tacking a hieroglyph from regretful spirits                                                                                                              

in the spectrum of a sleepwalker coming to drink                                                                                            

from the source.

Khalil Elayan is a Senior Lecturer of English at Kennesaw State University, teaching mostly World and African American Literature. His other interests include finishing his book on heroes and spending time in nature on his farm in north Georgia. Khalil’s first poem “Sana’a Sunrise” (https://www.tribes.org/web/2019/1/31/sanas-sunrise) was recently published in A Gathering of the Tribes magazine, while his most recent two poems “Broken Bird” and “Sometimes I Feel Like Darth Vader” have been published in Dime Show Review and About Place Journal, respectively; one of his essays appears in the book Teachers as Avatars: English Studies in the Digital Age published by Hampton Press, Inc. He has also written two journalistic essays covering the Arab Spring.

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September 2019

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