As/Is







3.15.2017


Mary Walker Graham: from P.F.S. Post


ON THE BANKS OF THE RIVER IN WINTER

As if for the first time,
the long low sound of the water
and the train just beginning

to round the bend and blow
its way through the dark tunnel.
How many times I've sat here

in summer: considered the chicory,
drawn the blue bridge flung
from bank to bank, or wondered

the names of the red flowers,
their throats like trumpets.
How many times I've not

given in to the weeping:
I can almost see her- Mary- the one
who lifts the Potomac mud

to her face and smears,
as if it were a balm and not
the original problem,

or the one with the bucket of fish:
she should return them but that would mean
letting them slip, silver and whole,

finally cast out from her. I'd rather
let them wander in the waters,
cold and insistent and crying.


MY FAVORITE WORD IS RIVER

The lady maples dip their long green fingers into their own reflections.

And the train goes by twice, toot and toot.

The okra was so tall this year, ringed with crimson;
the Japanese beetles like scary mobile jewels. Imagine if her necklace walked...
(And ate holes in her thin skin, and had to be trapped
with sticky pheromone ooze.)

It gets thin and salty near the marshes.

Now I'm dining alone on the Sonoma Coast...

River rhymes with liver, which has the meaning

both of filter and of one who doesn't die.