Friday Poem


Her cart like a dug-out canoe.
Had been an oak trunk.
Cut young. Fire-scoured.
What was bark what was heartwood: P u r e C h a r – H o l e
Adze-hacked and gouged.
Ever after (never not) wheeling hollow there behind her.
Up the hill toward Bennett Yard; down through Eight-Mile,
..the Narrows.
C o m e s C l a r y b y h e r e n o w
Body bent past bent. ……Intent upon horizon and carry.
Her null eye long since gone isingglassy, opal.
—The potent (brimming, fluent) one looks brown.
C o u r s e s C l a r y s u r e a s b a y o u t h r o u g h h e r e n o w
Bearing (and borne ahead by) hull and hold behind her.
Plies the dark.
Whole nights most nights along the overpass over Accabee.
C r o s s e s C l a r y b l e s s h e r b a r r o w u p t h e r e n o w
Pausing and voweling there— the place where the girl fell.
( …………. )
Afterwhile passing.
Comes her cart like a whole-note held.

by Atsuro Riley

from Poetry, Vol. 192, No.5, September
publisher: Poetry, Chicago, 2008