Spring 2011

Table of Contents - Vol. VII, No. 1

Poetry    Translations    Fiction

Hugh Burgess

For Caitlin Rose

We are on the New Jersey Turnpike
            traveling south to home as rain
            drenches us; it’s a dark tunnel of drench
            at seventy miles an hour
            on cruise control,
although we are dry
to the bone and riveted forward,
            fixed on the fateful road mist
            of tandem semis whose drone
            doo wops to NPR, pushing us into
Delaware and nightfall
as the tunnel, now a stadium’s
            cantilevered weather roof, opens
            on our right to a carnival sunset,
            long layered splotches of yellows,
            blues, and lazy grays, uneven
            as lava flows.
And then before us
            banks of north-bound headlights form
            into phalanx and mirror back ourselves:
            we are the longest reciprocating
            convoy in the history of the world,
we are a giant piston sucking up
the earth’s ancient treasures and
we think we are running on rain.

These mysteries are not as deep
            as those draped ceremoniously
            this morning across the shoulders
            of our beauteous grand daughter
            just graduated from Smith,
cajoled with dignity and humor and love
            to go forth and be human and
            a woman of infinite promise
            as she has already proved to be,
nor do we doubt in any measure that
if anyone can get us in out of the rain
it will be she.


Shards that tumble off    the face of glaciers
lose both light and vector    their dark
recessive shadows    cradle embroiling seas
consequences far too numerous   far too deep
for one small mind to plumb   so turn a page
then two    find a brace of ducks their heads just so
triangular composition    one bill in profile one strict
highlight down the center    the other foreshortened
all else too centered, just so   except one leg
splayed outward off the diagonal    that you can handle
without dislocation    also delete the bright steel
tube thrusting up into each belly    add a water line
some reeds    and dull the odd reflective shine
that says     their eyes are glass.

© Hugh Burgess

Poetry    Translations    Fiction

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