Christopher, After the Explorer

We hover low over the river. His eyes are shining,
wildfire breath coming in gasps. Wildebeests
stampede through the tall grass below us and I pray
to God everything works itself out, one way or another.
His hands are rough like mine and my father’s
before us. He’s fast undoing the knots and then
a dead weight falls away. When I look back
down, all I see are ripples across the surface
of the dark water, the disappearing backs of crocodiles.

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One Night on the Riverbed

Nighttime medicine, 
Benzene blue his eyes and soul— 
How slowly we fall. 

Silent Lorelei,
An embrace of glassy green
On my skin again. 

Dark blue, pinhole stars,
My body the midnight sky
Bending over his.

Hand on hand. Dreams slip
Into the underbelly
Of the universe. 

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Wildling

Comfortable in the cold,
mist tendrils rising
across morning garden,
dew-dampened boots
dry in the rising wind.
Cracking this year’s journal,
I release pleasure to the river.
Behind a dome of December clouds,
the sun struggles.

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Convalescent

My body the underside
Of a river at night, dark blue water
Strewn with a pinch of stars.
All is quiet now that I’ve lost
The will to fight. All I can conjure up
Is a lonesome silent fish, a gentle splash
Of gold on the face of the moon.
Then all falls backs into the soft,
Watery black. I’m on my back,
And my legs will not move.

All I can do is wait to be reborn.

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Delta Mouth

Delta Mouth Moon pull swift tide bringing arrowheads quiver dropped loosened skirt strings tight arm and notch to bow dead elks bloat in the shore foam Moon swift pushing so saturnine up a slick and bawdy ship hull up a sickly girl-thigh on a naked shoreline Moon full drip ink on a violet dry notches […]

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River Dogs

River Dogs River folk have destroyed the bridge beneath an obsolete moon   their dogs run wild   lizards grasped tightly in their iron jaws beneath an iron moon   the bridge yaws empty   a tracery of absence where the bridge once existed   dogs laugh into the throat of history    observing the ongoing battle    between freshness and salt jellyfish encroach […]

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The Middle Verses

The Middle Verses the past bleeds, a black river the future stretches out, a winding sheet, and all that lies in the sun bears witness to the soft vowels of the earth the sky is a radiant flower a camellia rain falls like petals like broken bones chasms open mountains echo a lost word in […]

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Smuggling Butterflies

Clyde Kessler, poet and naturalist, lives in Radford, VA with his wife Kendall and their son Alan. Several years ago they added an art studio to their home and named it Towhee Hill. His latest book of poems, Fiddling at Midnight’s Farmhouse (Cedar Creek Publishing), was illustrated by his wife, Kendall Kessler. Smuggling Butterflies Sunrise […]

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the tower

Sylvan Lebrun is a student, poet, and musician living in Tokyo, Japan. Her work has been previously published in The Lavender Review, Bitterzoet Magazine, The Fourth River, and Crab Fat Magazine the tower a wildfire is started at torres del paine national park how much longer? asks the daughter of the mother i have not met yet sharpened ribbons […]

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