For this stop, I'm offering a new poem that's a follow-up to one of my previous works (which is linked in the title below). Happy touring, friends and fellow poets!
Five Times I Lived by Water: Reprise
Mother, my home has been taken
by uncaring thieves. They cast me
adrift on the ash-strewn cloud beds
shrouding the sea. Mother, they kill me
with paper, drown me in ink and bind
my feet against returning. I will swim
as far as my tired arms can take me,
but Mother, great river, protectress
of mine: cry vengeance. I cannot fly.
2. Indian Lake
I know no songs of this place
except the sad. That six-leafed
clover I found on the bank
just won't cut it. They say luck
comes to those who make it,
but, poisoned well, if I may
go so far as to skip stones—
your hollow reeds have failed
to brace my shattered bones.
3. Charles (Revisited)
Remind me, river bending
of what I have lost. Throw shades
and specters of days long gone
in my uncharted path. When
did they last pull the dead
from your depths? Your bridges stretch
in stately neglect, your shores
flecked with cinder and sand
beneath waning skies. This time
I'm ready for what you will
tell me, and it will be lies.
You see me there
and back without care
for where I am going
or where I have been.
Always from a distance. Safe
is how you like it. Grandpa says
you've grown too toxic. Grandma says
she never learned to swim. Father says
you might have drowned him. Uncle says
we've all been played for fools. So, I'll say
we got off on the wrong foot, played it safe
from far too great a distance. Means and ways.