the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Melinda Thomsen

Vermont, 5:50 AM

While waves of wind rattle leaves like sheets,
          four crows fly from trees to the parking lot.
                    With wings flared out, they peck and squawk
                              but one hops from grass to curb to street

bewitched by some ancient avian drumbeat
          that's lost on me. At six fifteen, a fiery dot
                    appears above this valley with its rays wrought
                              in fog. It morphs into a Celtic cross and beats

across the lawn to bloom into an orange light,
          reflecting lines off the car trunks. The sun
                    is now over the mountain, burning into a white

which the sky absorbs and leaves my pen to run
          a shadow over its page. The birds flee in vocal flight
                    in a flare of commas and points in motion.


Switzerland, 8:20 AM

The birds flare into commas and points in motion
          when the late sleeping sun shows as a kind of stalk
                    that grows and sprays its rays. Contrails chalk
                              the blackboard sky in easterly directions

as silver flecks off the jets' bellies — an indication
          of the sun until it lifts as one from its mountain dock
                    into the sky's palm with flat fluffy grayish dark
                              fingers. The flaming oval shape fills my vision

with spots as belfries in the valley greet the new year.
          A magpie hops from bare branch to conifer tree
                    and clouds burn gold. Yellow blotches fall everywhere

I look and from floor to robe for they are now all I see,
          even in shadows there are burning patches. It is clear —
                    that nothing but a heavy darkness can save me.



Back to Poetry