CROSSING THE COSUMNES
by Taylor Graham
In cutoffs and worn-out hiking boots
that couldn't be ruined by wading, I crossed
the river was it The Middle Fork,
as you said, or all three forks together, joined
for their run under the 49er highway,
to the flatlands, the delta, the sea? I love
water springing from meadows
far upcountry to make its way creating its way
as it goes, with every winter storm
and late-season snowmelt undammed.
Just upstream is where adventurers drown,
in the gorge below deadman's-curve
on the road to town. This river's undammed
but not untouched. You've chased
away dredgers who'd steal your gold.
A gift from God, you say.
Gift of the river.
I waded across the current, not to get
to the other side, a better spot for panning.
Just to feel moving, living
water against bare legs; to be a brief
cause of eddy in its flow to sea.
So I'd remember the Cosumnes,
so it might remember me.
ENTANGLED by Brent Wiggans
by Allan Johnston
Day breaks a few yellow window panes against a cool grey morning
chill of air, cols and chimneys
of buildings hiding the crack of the vanished horizon. Once the eye could
see for miles
into the lake, a limpid flatness of plains stretched beyond trees the other
way against gunpowder
sky. In a century will this city still be dying as it is now, slowly leaking from
the hot consumerist
fete of its junk? The battery acid drip continues into a lake
where spawn swim upside down, flesh laced with trace metals, toxins, the
taste of our time.
This is how we are measured: our lives are our work. The ghosts of
ourselves we peel off in the
immense air of sleep. Clothes wave the glory that was man. Discarded,
they become painters' rags,
furniture wipes, each with its smear of the relishes, stains from spills and
so on. On one lone
laundry line somewhere in the city one sleeve distendsa smear of blue ink,
some atrocity against cleanliness, some hope as soiled as the human God.
Form memoir, skin ghost, take us, shape us. Your rips and crannies tell us
of our lives;
histories of laundry spun in machines then strung in white flags in the cool
INSIDE OUT by Fabrice B. Poussin
by Ann Privateer
Bubbles cling to the sand bar
Like candles on a cake
The sea twists and rolls
onto shore, whipping up more
Froth, bear claw style.
I am hot and frapped
Sprinkled with custardy
French cruller goodness
An ample Snapple lover
Canning my heat, waiting.