John Delaney retired as curator of historic maps at Princeton University Library, and moved out to Port Townsend, WA. He’s traveled widely, preferring remote, natural settings, and is addicted to kayaking and hiking. In 2017, he published Waypoints (Pleasure Boat Studio, Seattle), a collection of place poems. Twenty Questions, a chapbook, is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press.


The entire population
of Big Bend gambusia
lives in a protected pond
in that national park.
I’m talking about a minnow
barely two inches long
that is lucky to live a year or two.

For 100 million years
their viviparous family
has endured diverse
habitats of heat and drought,
where ephemeral
and eternal members
glide in solemn silhouette side by side.

We start at the back of the pack.
Who will be our sponsor?
We’ll need to salvage
the gumption of a minnow
determined to pass
its brief baton of life
from one side of the pond to the other.

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