The 2River View 25.4 (Summer 2021)

Charles Rafferty

Estate Sale

For example, a redwood became my late neighbor’s picnic table, which his daughter set out on the lawn to display his fedoras. He had worn them as a young man, she said. Each hat had a bright feather stuck in the band. They didn’t look like they came from the birds around here, and nobody wanted the hats. Even so, the picnic table got loaded into a truck before the dew burned off. The hats, of course, are part of the poem.


Curves in the river keep breaking off as it heads to the sea’s address. They do their best to become what they are no longer, and we admire them for it, if only because of the mallard eggs, which their banks can hold without breaking. These lakes fill in with silt and cattails, transitioning over the decades to bog and pasture. Listen—the bell of some future dairy cow is clanking on the wind as it returns to a barn that is still a bunch of oak trees, their branches full of chattering finches on the way to someplace warm.

Charles Rafferty has a collection of prose poems—A Cluster of Noisy Planets—forthcoming from BOA Editions. His poems have appeared in The New Yorker and The Southern Review. Rafferty co-directs the MFA program at Albertus Magnus College. faculty page

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