Fall/Winter 2014

James Papa


The families of fishermen weep
over fathers and sons gone down
into the deeps without prayers.
They weep over having no one

to weep for. But the graveyards
of the world fill with weeds.
The iron bells  in the chapel rust.
The last caretaker follows the dead

quietly underground. The trees
turn over the stones. Only the sea
remembers. Like some disheveled 
Rabbi in an old gray suit, the sea

goes on muttering benedictions
for the dead, as if they were children
asleep in the dark, or men waiting

to enter the empty mosque at dawn.

Jim Papa, a poet and essayist, is a professor of English at York College/CUNY, where he teaches creative writing and literature. His most recent poems have appeared in The Midwest Quarterly and Confrontation.



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