Phillip Barron (poetry)

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Sisyphean S-curve

I.

East, then south, then east again
Before reaching water’s edge
A reed-bending breeze carries brackish water, car exhaust, fermenting grains
The river is still but the sky is swift
As if the peregrinating white cousins of these retched ponds could jump start the river’s flow
White egrets hold heads high, turn up
Orange bills at the oily water with swift precision
Fishers stab their heads and wriggle victims down
Long throats

“Housing market struggles to gain traction” says a deep-throated pundit
Easy pickin’s; it’s a buyer’s market
A mystic’s market
An egret’s market
Boom and bust cycles

When it fell
When the market crashed like a western Sierra slopes avalanche in a late April thunderstorm
Snow melted in a flash, coruscant equity leaked through the dike
And the fish flowed in, now trapped in shrinking pools in
Sacramento’s delta
The egret lengthens its neck with each graceful step through the oleaginous pond
A flooded market
Fish in a barrel

Boom and bust cycles
Thunder claps in the foothills and breaks loose more ice
Another flood and Ortega is up to his neck in debt
Ballroom dancing in an industrial park
The eloquent observer of modernism’s flattening aesthetic
Parks a wheelbarrow on the roof while
Walcott’s white egrets fish in the trunk of a partially submerged Toyota Celica

Part II was published in Hinchas de Poesia.

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by Phillip Barron

Return to Issue 49