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March 15, 2023

Parade Day

Anna Denisch

The sun sets over the land of the dead,

And we in the East watch,

With open eyes

And beating hearts,

As the water laps at our ankles

And licks at our toes.

We are nobles and workers alike;

Separated only by respect,

And fear,

And watchful glances,

Waiting in unison for the ships

Progressing around the bend.

The Nile is flowing,

And it will soon be receding.

The crops will die;

The wine will sour.

But the gods are alive on the water,

And they are golden and painful.

They bob up the river

With strong-backed men rowing,

Others on land

Towing them along,

Heading South toward friends;

South toward the congregation.

Even the gods must get lonely,

Sitting up in their stone temples,

Hiding behind false doors,

Waiting for a priest

To feed them and give them wine;

To awake their senses with gobs of incense.

The black sheets cover the gods,

Their presence known not

To the likes of us;

Mere mortals;

Mere workers and nobles waiting to die;

Mere humans building more homes.

We cheer as they float past,

And chatter about who protects our home;

Protects our babies from hippos;

Coaches our mothers

And sisters and daughters and nieces

Through birth of the unknown.

We do not hold doubt

in our hearts or minds.

We watch and we believe.

We dream and we think.

We return to work and home.

We do not hold doubt in our hearts or minds.

We do not speak it in the presence of gods.


ANNA DENISCH was born and raised just outside of Baltimore City, but she has never called it home. When not traveling around the world or daydreaming about dragons, she spends her time looking at books she wants to read without actually touching them. She received her M.F.A. in Creative and Professional Writing from Western Connecticut State University.

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