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Paul Fisher


At the Symphony

Between the warring
archipelagos of sound,
a woman coughs. 

A movement swelling
like a young sequoia sprouts.
Songs and canyons open to

rapid beats of goshawk wings.
Thunder follows;

yet silence remains
a perfect surface shattered by
arpeggios of no one’s dreams.



Inland Sea

“Carried below by mudslides, forest may stand 
a thousand years, preserved beneath frigid
waters of the sound.”
                     — Oceans Review

Around eight o’clock, when shallow
fog lifts, you sometimes glimpse shore
where memory drops off,
and sometimes hear the sound of water,
the sound of water stumbling over rocks
as smooth and striped as planets
ground halfway from stars to dust.

Ringed by trembling hills, the Salish
carved war canoes  
from cedar, fire, and smoke-hardened prayer.
Dogfish, crabs, gutted seals,
whatever washed belly-up on not-quite land
was pecked apart by hawks and gulls,
or fondled by a child. 

Not long ago, groves launched themselves
like Yankee clippers into cold.
Some say masts still harbor nests of owls,
cradle bones of men and wolves,
and spread blue shadows under waves
like flickering, wingless ghosts. 
Silver and black, the surface is all we know—

wind caterwauling through railing and rigging, 
clearing the decks of half-sunk ships.



A native of the Pacific Northwest, Paul Fisher lives with his wife, Linda, and a small menagerie of animals on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. He is the recipient of an Individual Artist’s Fellowship in Poetry from the Oregon State Arts Commission, a graduate of the MFA Program in Poetry at New England College, and has a book manuscript currently in circulation.

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