Thanks to Editor Amanda Marrero, The Field Guide has published my poem “A Wash is Not a Riverbed.” This poem is about the wash that runs right past my house. I think this poem would have fit in Rooted and Winged.
The poem is in six sections. Here is the first one:
From overhead see a route
on an intuitive map. Scriven in earth, etched with blood and spoor.
The route is wash.
The wash is map.
A kingsnake slides its stripes
across the arroyo
in the way that a T is crossed to finish the planet. It tastes the chemical scent of its prey.
The stubbling of grasses amid stones optimistic in the hollow. We wish for custom monsoons
a steady large-drop rain and little wind.
Alaska native Caroline Goodwin’s first poetry book, Trapline (Jackleg Press), is set at the edge–of the sea, the swamp, the wilderness. To get a feel for her poetry, imagine yourself walking along the shore, encountering “rot and salt,” dragonflies, gnats, the quahog and cockle. Then imagine focusing in on each treasure, closer and closer until you see a wing or an eye and then inside the organism. Once you’re amongst the blood vessels with your magical microscope, Goodwin will connect what you see to the human you through a hand, a thigh, a boot. What you discover will be big and beautiful and brutal.
The first poem offers an invitation to the reader: “come to the end of the wharf / when the last of the tide releases / the harbor with its trollers / and rigging _ _ its lampshells / and speckled anemone _ _ come / after work when the mind / / has grown plumes.” [The double underscore represents a larger space in the line. Since WordPress isn’t friendly to poetry, I had to make do.]
You will want to take Goodwin up on this invitation. You can click on the book above to order from Amazon. I didn’t get a free book for recommending Goodwin’s poetry; I simply bought her book and fell in love with the poems.
Here is a sample poem for your enjoyment:
I can see how the termites
draw themselves through
the opening now
to rise out of the hive
in a flickering stream
every leg full of
sun every abdomen a
jewel and I let myself
think about the un-
born and the almost
born — eggs packed
in brittle shells
in the wings
scraping at the crumpled
his song a thin leg
. . . . . . . . . at the edge of the yard
[I had to add the ellipses to indicate a long space.]