Jason Stratton





Beneath the lye-wiped sun,
these folded up and sleeping ducks
might be white stones—
nearly hidden by burning,
motionless, but ringed with trembling.

Beneath a surface, (down, down)
brushing the water that
cradles their heavy bodies,
slow swells of smoke
wave, the lantern color of old copper.

This hair that is weeds, fluid neatly
eating up the water’s space.
From the river bottom
shy rolling heads whisper simply
of hunger:

And fish emerge (maybe eating)
from the long box of shade
made by the bridge slabs.
Slate-bodied, they rise as ghosts,
writhing in the grass of a
submerged field.

Always the river, (or) something in it, crying:
I am tired.

A grief of motion; the sun warms the bankstones.

Why float with want?
I am tired, I see midges
dot the thickened air,
a turned back,
its shining its accomplishment.

Dust too, hanging, just nowhere to go.
The heat drives it upward like
cool steam from a mouth,
avoiding rain,
pooling under an awning.

My ear, isolated as it is,
lets sounds turn dull,
rise and confuse me.
I am hungry.

In a dream of fever, water
splatters from my mouth
(a glass of water
quickly inverted)
which mentions, all coolness:
I’m sorry if strong desire is bad manners,
but I couldn’t help
noticing the knuckles of your right hand—
Do you often fight?

This lifts
free of seconds. Pauses,
no stalk to feed it.

And all this emerges from (listen):
the river that I know is moving, that I do not see moving;
the five stones
supported by suspended, banded color;
the air manifest.


Copyright © 2004 Jason Stratton.  All Rights Reserved.


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