Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Sharon Olinka: Bone Cargo

At night beautiful shapes of men and women
floated over the ship Van. Long black hair,
cut by bayonets. Piles of severed heads,
once teachers. A grandfather
who walked too slow. Newborns left to die
in the desert. One day old. One hour old.
And the angel Raphael
floated with them, his naked body
a white blur in the sky. His penis
between two vulnerable thighs. He knew
no one was safe now, not even angels.

The ship left Mudania,
on the Sea of Marmora,
with a load of 400 tons of human bones,
and arrived at the port of Marseilles,
two days before Christmas Eve,
roast goose and plum puddings,
carols and joyous Noel,
on December 22, 1924.
The bones had been sold to French manufacturers.
The bones were of murdered Armenians.

Copyright Sharon Olinka. From The Good City, from Marsh Hawk Press, 2006. Reprinted here by kind permission of the author.

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