It was probably the hammering of the temples,
Which became more and more pronounced
As we came within sight of the island.
The sun was directly overhead and the glare
Was unusually intense. It was like waking
From a dream. I would never have believed
That such a frail boat, packed to overflowing
With runaways, could weather such a sea.
The land rose out of the water like a huge loaf
Of petrified bread. On the wharf a crowd
Had gathered to greet us as we inched our way
Into harbor. Everything was larger than life.
A girl, perhaps twelve, perhaps fourteen,
Standing at the edge of the wharf, not cheering
Or calling out like the others, looked at me.
She had reddish gold hair, and features
As grave and austere as a caryatid.
What we were running from no longer
Mattered, in the closeness of the embrace
We received. I felt what the parched earth
Must feel after a sudden and furious downpour.