the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Richard Levine

Love and War

I fear my last vision
may be of me
soldiering in Vietnam.
1967 or eight.

I want that last breath
in the world behind my eyes
to be of my wife, my kids, my pets,

or anywhere
I was kinder than in war.


Night Court

Circling in the dark, mosquitoes
find their blood-meal targets
with their sucking darts.

Regrets pierce the skin of sleep,  
waking you to vigilance and itching
rooted deeper than any bite.

How much tossing before you turn
on a light and sit up to read, rather
than take the stand to face accusers?


Hocus Pocus

The forests we see, like light
from dead stars, may already be gone …

seasonal changes and continuing
feeds of oxygen misdirect;

a collective slight of breath.  Follow
these words with your eyes.  Here, there

are fewer birds and bees to pollinate,
fewer rabbits to hunt or pull out of hats, …

can it be we are one
generation of seeds from becoming

a magician caught in his own trick?
An incantation, a wave of a stick,

the old hocus pocus, and it’s …
Now you see us, now you don’t!



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