Overlooking a River Downstream…
The Ancient Modern
Overlooking a River Downstream from a Clearcut Forest / Joshua Alan Sturgill
collecting and complaining
at the bottleneck of selection.
Logs in the narrow bend
of the river below me, and the water
cold under the half-light of the moon.
I hear the river at its work:
jostling the words, the logs. The sky
so immense—swallows the song.
I consider the murmur of wood and water
echoing in the air around me.
Memory supplies color for these trees
—were they pines, aspens, elms? They fight
in the water, half-asleep, dying
with faint, ominous thuds and creaks.
Submerged mass, wet curves
faintly glistening and slimed with resin,
the air scented with the wounds of trees.
Logs, words, bleeding, selecting the image
—trees indelicately reduced to an elementary
geometry: cylinder, tube, can. My words
glum, underground passengers in the muted
anger of a subway, the raw intimacy
of travel. Resin bleeds into the water
like the pen hovering, words caught
in the mind, seeking escape. Memory
of colors that were once life
of wind and stories and sap in veins
Earth shivers, bare of its coat of trees.
The whole world drowning below me
All poetry and supplementary material: copyright 2020 by Joshua Alan Sturgill