11.2 (Winter 2007)   The 2River View   AuthorsPoemsPDFPast Issues2River

Michaela Kahn


The sailors outnumber salt,
their webbed feet sift the gold
sand from the shells.

No time. Shelley rides the
current in his jellyfish form,
the chains he held became the
phosphor tentacles that spell
out names in the darkness:
Angel-fire, Manacle, Anarchy,

Why come here? Only poets,
bones, the quiet of starfish,
the silver flash of schooling
herring, turning away.

The hands you wore will not
save you from cold. You will
have to kick. To return.
Or learn to breathe underwater.


The city forgets

How does a city forget itself:
a stone that paved the Spanish conquest,
latrine near the well, bent nail.

Which teeth punctured apple, what
stash of seeds. Whose ruin
beneath the parking lot:
squirrel, human, a sound
that makes itself from

Each stone is itself
a story of blue and the ripping
winds, each stone knows
the weight of stone and stone—
the dizzy heights of smoke
above a dry land.

Braided fiber, drilled bone,
plastic lighter, silver coin:
tool and echo.

Every time you leave it
the city cries out,
circles back on itself
scenting out the piece left.


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