The Ancient Modern

Overlooking a River Downstream from a Clearcut Forest /  Joshua Alan Sturgill

             Logslike words 
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 immenseswallows 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

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