The 2River View 18.1 (Fall 2013)

Gary Dop

That Night in Mobridge

On the reservation when we spoke in tongues
as boys and I claimed to see an angel
outside our window, you said you saw it too,

but we didn’t describe it
          (the sense of light in empty space
          the sense of bright form, indivisible)
for fear we were lying—today, for fear it was true.

You remind me we were boys, and I see
doubt swallowed you like candy sucked to nothing.
Now, I don't want to speak with you for fear

I’ll be swallowed. Looking out the window
and seeing nothing, I ache for something
bright in all this darkness.


A fallen, split, and half-submerged tree guards
the gathering waters from the surrounding spirit

of the city. She’s worn of her bark, dead white
like the underbelly of a beached whale. When the trout

and bass pass under her, they leap out
of Rice Creek into the Mississippi. A cardinal,

redder than the falling sun, lands and lands again
on her trunk. He lifts his wings from her dead branches

and calls to us to live, to remain here
under the green gleaming canopy, to be

where death touches life, where death is life,
and life is a tree, a leaf, a seed falling in peace.

Gary Dop is an English professor at Randolph College. His poems have appeared on Minnesota Public Radio and in New Letters, Prairie Schooner, and Rattle. Father, Child, Water is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. contactwebsite

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