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"Wabash River Woods"

 

Ironweed

It’s a short walk to the river –

down a dirt road along a birch

and sycamore forest.

Sometimes I pass joggers

or children with dogs.  Today

the sky is wide-open blue

and grasshoppers share the air

with damselflies.  On the

horizon, two young men –

dressed in black, bald,

with pierced earlobes, noses,

probably tongues.  Skin heads

I say to myself.  An alarm

sounds in my primordial brain

and I rush to the river’s edge

where, if pressed, I could

escape into the current; but,

my hat blows off, lassos

their attention and we meet

iris to iris, pupil to pupil.

To my surprise, they have

joined hands and are

just two lovers walking.

At night, I watch the news

from Iraq, the latest tsunami,

earthquake, hurricane.  When

I fall asleep, I dream the river

has cut a new channel.  Rifles

turn into sedge grass, bombs

into fireflies, soldiers into

mere boys.  In the woods,

the language of fear

is extinguished

and the sound sounds like

          intolerance

slowly melting

          down to stone.

“Ironweed” was first published in Issue # 8 of Raving Dove, Fall/Winter 2006/2007 www.ravingdove.org

Wabash River

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