fiction, poetry & more

THERE WILL BE A WEDDING

Jeanette Steinman Shelburne

A flock of cranes flies

past

a slice of moon

across

the world.

 

We set out towards midnight

our favorite time

to hear the earth talking

the way it really wants to.

 

Our kibbutz

is nestled between mountains

a resting place for birds

who know no boundaries

on their journey

from Europe to Africa.

 

The Great Rift

tore this land apart

35 million years ago

from Lebanon to Mozambique.

 

It uplifted the mountains,

and birthed the Golan Heights.

 

Its snow

knows no boundaries

forcing itself down

through volcanic rocks

it overflows underground caves

it insinuates itself, loud demanding

it bursts into waterfalls,

geysers, torrents

it gives birth to the Jordan River

cold and pure.

 

Rushing water tells us

we’re on the right road

if we follow it, we won’t get lost.

 

Towards midnight

frogs call out, multitudes

fighting for their mates.

 

Tomorrow our family

flies here from around the world

there will be a wedding.

 

The reeds move like refugees

like their voices

planting apple trees

to forget the horrors.

 

There’s something a little faster

than the breeze—it’s a drone—

the hawk we depend on—

Israeli youth

weave a nest around us

eighteen and nineteen-years old

watching from bunkers

and towers, through night vision

cameras and underground sensors.

 

Almost too fast to see

the sky shakes from Syria

flashing up the darkness.

A low boom follows

someone is

killed

 

right now

 

anything

can happen.

 

Anything.

 

The old woman stays in her house

she never leaves unless

the ground is shaking.

 

She told us that.

.

We climb into bed

with our passports

and backpacks.

 

I close my eyes

If I don’t sleep

still I can breathe.

 

Tomorrow we’re going to a wedding.

______________________________

Jeanette Shelburne’s writing has been published or is forthcoming in Perceptions Magazine, El Portal Literary Journal, Brief Wilderness-Shoe Music Press, Brushfire Journal, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Avotaynu Magazine, On the Bus 25, and Side-Eye on the Apocalypse (LA Poets & Writers Collective). Her scripts were produced for MGM Animation, Nelvana Enterprises, Inc. (children’s animated television shows), Fox New Media, NBCUniversal New Media, Tír na nÓg Designs, and The Brighter Child Series (educational interactive programs).

December 2023