Nan Byrne
 
 

 

          SUSQUEHANNA RIVER
 

Do you know that spot near Harpersville

where the Susquehanna leaves its long bend

to straighten out for eighty miles pushing

up bridges and roadways at certain times of the year

when the snow comes and then again when it melts

hauling mud from the mountains down

on to the smoke of the valley below

where it is welcomed back by no one but the river?

There is a dead dog there, his eyes glisten like jelly

his coat once yellow is now ash, the bone still bone

But draped with useless flesh that meshes to earth

as if it grows there. I once knew his name.

I remember a day when I was fishing and this was long time ago.

I was in a boat set on the ocean invisible like light on a mirror

so blue and brilliant was the sky

I caught a pogy that day, the first mate heavy in his yellow

The man wanted a snapshot of the fish for the fish was large.

I took that pogy in his final moments inside the roundhouse

as he heaved and twisted up his belly

thrashing for an ounce of seawater

I held him tight there, selfishly keeping him from the ocean.

And he was a selfish fine supper, tasty

though today I want to put that fish back, the way I want to bury King,

the way I want you to forgive me

Copyright 2003 Nan Byrne.  All Rights Reserved.

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