Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Journal of Responses
     after Ezra Pound’s “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”

Fletcher’s Cove, this morning by the rocks, two men
sit with a dog between them, one
lighting a cigarette, the other already smoking.
They watch sculls lick the Potomac, gliding north.
The air is brown with exhalation. My riverboat never comes.
I am brown with waiting.

After eating fried catfish for lunch, your styrofoam calligraphy
pollutes more than the river. So much litter collects
around me that I leave the District
for creeks as far as Pennsylvania. I wear canvas
waders instead of rubber. Casting,  casting,   casting.
I do not sell anything.

While I scraped the afternoon from rudders,
an angler with legs like stilts came by, asking
about night crawlers. I thought of playing horse with you.
In those days you were a wide-eyed zoo creature.
You were a dog. You were sad. Sad is easy.

Tonight, in the boathouse, my scalp goes red avoiding you.
Bloodworms quiver in my stomach.
Outside, the river is so loud it rings like the broken sidewalk
under the apathy of my feet the night I left you.

Over the crescendo of my anxiety, you have watched me
through the swamp oaks, but moss carpets my thoughts
and your face is now the crunch of leaves beneath the pressure of air.    

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