One Poem by Joseph Powell

One Poem by Joseph Powell

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Upside Down and Flying

I walked down our lane to get
the mail in wet November.
The news was full of disasters,
the fog tight as a hairnet.

Then a raven tucked and rolled
in the sparse yet snowy rain.
His wings flapped, flapped then folded
as he rolled and righted again.

A tree’s few leaves were buttons
on the shredded yellow season.
Ice lidded the eyes of potholes.
The bird was a black loophole

in the late light and his call—
a conceit both watery and crystal—
was the playful reversal
of a constricting universe.

He tucked and rolled the alpine
air seven times, like a line
of cursive that unfurled
across the wet-white world.     

The bird overturned a day
that seemed bleak and bare
when it rolled a seven in its play
and made light of heavy air.




Joseph PowellJoseph Powell has published six full-length collections of poetry. The most recent is Holding Nothing Back (Main Street Rag, 2019). Others include Preamble to the Afterlife (2013) and Hard Earth (2010). He co-wrote a textbook on meter called Accent on Meter, (NCTE, 2004). His book of short stories, Fish Grooming & Other Stories, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Award, and he won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in 2009. He is an emeritus distinguished professor of English at Central Washington University.

Read two poems by Joseph Powell also appearing in

Header photo by Marcin Perkowski, courtesy Shutterstock. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.