The 2River View 26.1 (Fall 2021)

Phil Goldstein

The Sound of Blood Flowing Through Me

to my beloved

The trees drip leaves from their mouths,
goldenrod, oxblood, apricot, ruby. They fall
like snow as we crunch our way higher.

The wind rushes through the trail, a breath
of October that finds its way
into the small spaces between our intertwined fingers.

We are climbing, trudging, stopping, walking together.
There is no one else who knows the rhythm 
of the way I hike like you do, no one who knows

I stumble like a klutz on rocks sometimes.
I march ahead at other intervals, jumping over tree roots
buried in a pile of honey-colored foliage.

You chide me, we laugh, we plow on.
There is no one else I would rather be with
at the peak as the breeze licks our cheeks.

There is no one else who knows what it means
for me to reach a summit, any summit, at all.  You do.
You know the sound my heart makes
as we take in the view of the valley.

What Wakes a Mother in the Middle of the Night

I have been forced to choose
between my jaw & my tongue, my eyes & my nose.
Which wound will I create in my body?
Which hole will I make permanent & glaring?

Has the sky ever been so much like me?
Out here in the desert, devoid of light pollution,
the Milky Way is a smoky fissure, curling overhead,
a wound in the sky, bleeding light. 

What can a mother do to stop her sons
from hurting one another? What can a mother do to unmake
a tear in the side of a continent?
How do you repair that kind of a gash?

Amid the cacti & armadillos, the earth shudders
every time I move. It vomits dirt, the kind shoveled
on a casket after the prayers have been intoned.
The sky will never stop bleeding down.

Phil Goldstein has appeared in Awakened Voices, The Loch Raven Review, Qwerty Magazine, and Rust+Moth. How to Bury a Boy at Sea is forthcoming from Stillhouse Press. (website)

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