Where Once We Swam

Patricia Gomes

Where Once We Swam

She sits cross-legged
on hard-packed dirt,
balancing a small clay bowl
atop her burnt bald head.
Her spine is rigid,
her eyes closed.

She opens her mouth
to catch the overflow
from the bowl,
while praying ceaselessly for rain
to gods
without shape,
without name, but

the gods are misers,

and use the sky as their lockbox,
hoarding what few drops remain.
Or perhaps they’ve gone senile,
forgetting the long-ago,
when Earth was supple and green.


Currently in her second-term as Poet Laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts, Patricia Gomes is the creator of the Octologue, an 8-line syllabic form of poetry. The former editor of Adagio Verse Quarterly, she has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, most recently in Wicked Haunted, an Anthology of New England Horror Writers, Speculations, Maintenant 11 (Three Rooms Press), Star*Line, and Expecting Love, an anthology tribute to Donald Hall. Twice nominated for The Pushcart Prize, Gomes is the author of four chapbooks.

Performing herwork extensively throughout the New England area, she also conducts workshops for adults, students,and children. Ms. Gomes is the co-founder of the GNB Writers Block as well a member of the SciFiPoetry Association, New England Horror Writers, the Massachusetts Poetry Society, and the BartlebyScrivener Poetry Group.

Editor’s Notes: Four image pieces conflate to give a sense of a scortched, barren. A surviver longing for rain, for the once lush planet in which we lived, offers her surreal thoughts to some imagined god.

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2 Responses to Where Once We Swam

  1. Roberta Swetlow says:

    The precisely-drawn verse tells us more about the woman and her adversaries in this instant than would a cloudburst of words.

  2. Charlene Howard says:

    The woman depicted in the picture, comes to life in vivid colors with Pat’s words.

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