Miles from Arizona’s creosote and prickly pear in the autumnscape of leaf over repointed brick the river’s scent reprises all fish scale and fume— though no field nor tractor in sight, I’ve lived where these were daily things, rudiments of morning’s muzzy walk. No jeweled grasshopper ravages lettuce or hay but eel-like sewers hum, clotted vowels restrung, tongue stumbling on the commonest nouns. Each day I need fewer, just earthen colors and bread while sometimes a blue cloud dissipates into rain as it did when I stirred a glass of medicine. For each cold call, a listener, a deep suspiciousness. I go off-script to crumble a palm’s worth of soil over one’s various dead, taste the citric reflux of loss not mine. Maybe this anger runs too deep: what will we do for each other in this century, this land, a scant supper apart, flag at half mast flapping against the home’s aluminum side.
Carol Alexander’s most recent poetry collection is Environments (Dos Madres Press). Her work has appeared in journals such as The American Journal of Poetry, The Canary, The Common, Cumberland River Review, Denver Quarterly, Hamilton Stone Review, One, Pif, Southern Humanities Review, Sweet Tree Review, The Goose, and Third Wednesday. A new book of poems is forthcoming from Dos Madres Press.
Header photo by Roschetzky Photography, courtesy Shutterstock.