The 2River View 20.1 (Fall 2015)

Christien Gholson

Dolphins during a storm

                                    Scarred skin against mine,
                                                                                              a map
                  to the world beneath. Echoes
                                      off an empty crab shell, stone submerged
            for two hundred thousand years. Huge bodies
                                                                                                    sinking, enveloped
                                    in Night, first word spoken
                                                                           by the hole that makes itself:

                  a mouth, a black mouth:         I screamed,

                            scrambled through surf towards shore, stumbled,
                     sea in the nose, mouth, this black mouth, crawling on sand,

                  and turned to see them, rolling.
                                                                        Could I have gone with them? I didn’t go.
                                                      How many years thinking I am unfinished?

                  And then this morning:
                                                                 a sudden raven in a bare cottonwood,
                      juniper shadow across a railroad bed – how the story continues,
                                                                                          fin and water, stone and tree,
                                                                                                                      with or without us.

Pawley’s Island, North Carolina; Santa Fe, New Mexico

Plumbing a pipe

                                                    in a tight crawlspace
                         beneath this house, beneath this development; blind mole,
                                                                                         dragging my body
                                                                                                                                 through dust.
                        Scratch flint, torch lit, flame to flux,
                                                               solder spreads around the copper seam.

                        And there’s a snake – of course there’s a snake –
                                                                                        curled in the corner, shadow
                                                                                                                    inside mine.

                         Eye on the snake, the wood beam behind the pipe                           
                                                                                  catches fire. (Seriously?)                                                      

                                          Quick, spray it out…
                                                                                            Dark, dark
                        The snake, still out there,
                                                                     takes me in through its tongue: taste
                                                                            of smoke, shadow, dust

  San Jose, California

Christien Gholson is the author of the novel A Fish Trapped Inside the Wind (Parthian 2011) and On the Side of the Crow (Hanging Loose Press 2006; Parthian 2011). blogcontact

« Mario Duarte Mark Jackley »