Word Arrives from Kennedy Creek Falls that Old Olympic Highway is to Die For
“If the scientist speaks in the name of the SCIENCE and the projection does not come true, that projection was not spoken by the SCIENCE; the scientist has uttered it presumptuously: do not stand in dread of him.” Deuteronomy 18:22, updated October 12, 2020
“If we will have the kindness of others, we must endure their follies.” Dr. Samuel Johnson, Idler 14
Fortuna believes there’s something inherently wrong with this place
Only because she came here for tuna. It just goes to show you
History always lets newness and strangeness pollute the land;
A sort of win for the pinnacle of peace. The shortest
Hills have a purple smell in the evening, when, in Summit
Lake’s somniloquy, purple smells of shortbread. Unspoken,
The truth, with the eyes of Oyster Bay on it, is acting out.
Like every man does when alone on some nights, the creek is tumbling
Over an ancient basalt flow. “There’s tumbling,” the mature
Timber says, “and there’s tumbling.” The oak trees stand by these muddy
Trails and their failed predictions like Anakites. Science says all
The old highways are unique, but quite similar to highways
Today and each other. Inside, all my blood cells turn into beetles
When I consider anything that has fins and scales
Might be dying. Fleshy jaumea must flourish where fools rush in.
Stars here always exaggerate and distort so the thing
Discussed sounds like more than it is: it’s an inborn error of their music,
Their influence. Guidons and an unidentified guest
Approve this message in April, but never in fall. You can’t
Tell the truth in the origin of fear. In a great and awesome,
Euthymic nation, Mad Max and A Clockwork Orange make
The films of Christopher Guest into station wagons for
Columbus. BP says goodbye to its grieving and capital. Ain’t no
Half-steppin’; the white-footed mouse in the marsh is reliving our days
On the steppes of Moab. It’s the best, it really is, when these dunlin
Fly over; it whets my best appetite’s weather. Unwilling, or maybe
Unable, to see what’s higher than words, a few words might die.
Jake Sheff is a pediatrician in Oregon and veteran of the US Air Force. He’s married with a daughter and a whole lot of pets. Poems of Jake’s are in Radius, The Ekphrastic Review, Crab Orchard Review, The Cossack Review and elsewhere. He won 1st place in the 2017 SFPA speculative poetry contest and a Laureate’s Choice prize in the 2019 Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest. Past poems and short stories have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology and the Pushcart Prize. His chapbook is Looting Versailles (Alabaster Leaves Publishing).
One thought on “Word Arrives from Kennedy Creek Falls that Old Olympic Highway is to Die For”
“The poem must resist the intelligence / Almost successfully” as Stevens wrote in Man Carrying Thing, and this poem trembles with that same good uncertainty. Bravo.