the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Jo Pitkin


On the smooth glass of oiled wood
where upside down umbrellas shed

their new dying in jet seeds and gold
dust, I swirl and scatter the stilled

life centered here, gather red ragged
scraps, wash and buff the pollinated

tabletop pearly clean with my tongue.
I am no longer optimistically young.

I rise and spread and fan and fade.
Bruised petals splatter like blood.

While wearing tulips' damp pollen
like a saffron-colored reptilian skin,

I blink and squint in day's bright sun.
My owned afternoon is now half gone.

On the other side of a tightly shut door,
I hear like fire's backdraft an unbeaten

green ocean roar, about to overrun
that table, these flowers, my vocation.


Choosing My Own Plot

The young muscled groundskeeper
asks me which family plot I'd prefer.

He says, Do you want the sunny spot?
Yes, I reply, I would like the sunny plot.

At least, one day, I'll have my place
in the sun—here—at the dusty base

of the coppery rolling hills of my home
with those I love and hippo bones,

at shade's edge just beyond reach
of brown fingers of an American beech.



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