Morning sunlight and fog on river

One Poem by Thomas Brush

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Lost & Found

June 2018

Another summer, another morning of separation,
Another crossing to the far shore of the underworld.
          What I need is a potion, something that says I’ve paid
My dues, something that will return the children
From the wilderness of the camps, something
That will help me understand the language of angels.
The potion should be a mixture, you know, eye
Of snake, spider’s tongue, perhaps Billy Budd’s ascension
“Into the full rose of dawn,” Wavy Gravy’s sky-bound eulogy
At Goldie’s wake that fall day in Bolinas, and the winter night
I spun the car off the road and into a ditch
Outside Tucson. No one was hurt but it took us
Out of ourselves, if only for a moment, looking up
Into the snowfall, and the cold, gray
Sky hovering over us.
Maybe I can recover those magical
Properties I’ve dreamed of: Sunlight that heals the sores
Of those who have lain so long in bed, a breeze
That turns castles to sheets of glass, and poison that erases the grotesque
Smiles of those who are sure they’re right.
          After all, the hours
Are starting to come down from the plane trees,
And the burls of clouds have found their way
Back, and the gleam of the strawberry moon
Puts politics to shame, puts its stamp on the ruins
Of our hearts, that says, “I am not
your enemy.”
          I recall old men,                                                                                 
          In December, 1951, standing on the banks of the Naches River,
Watching the red wooden bobbers for the bites of whitefish,
Holding the bait, live maggots, in their cheeks
To keep them warm. Such are dreams, some lost
Along the way, some remain, some permanent
As scars.




Thomas BrushThomas Brush’s first poems were published in Poetry Northwest in 1970. He has received creative writing grants from the NEA, Washington State Arts Commission, and Artist Trust. His most recently books, from Lynx House Press, are God’s Laughter (2018), Open Heart (2015), and Last Night, winner of the Blue Lynx Prize (2012).

Header photo by James Wheeler, courtesy Pixabay. Photo of Thomas Brush by Duane Thurman. is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.