The Exodus

by Michael Bagwell

Everyone is leaving. They walk in pensive lines
with each eye under the falling feet of those
in front and each hand grasping
bulky sacks of food and clothing.
Dirt lies thick on their fingers like continents
afloat on oceans of skin.

I watch them go from the shore.
No one else lingers there, or even looks.
Just rocks and sand, water and the remnants of stars. 
The windowed faces of the buildings
are like arachnids with their legs torn off.
The whole of the countryside looks like some damaged,
monstrous beast that, perhaps once, had been beautiful.

Even the wild dogs are leaving now,
paddling hopelessly out to sea
so as not to die in this place.

Yet I stay and when the last ship sails
and the last bird takes flight,
I walk back to my home,
keeping the sea at my back.