Gas Station

Sheila Phelan

It was upriver, near a bridge
with commuter traffic
and a skein of moorings
where locals kept their boats.

On an island of its own,
you could pull up either side
just like an ordinary gas station.

A girl worked there
all summer in a bathing suit
and shorts. She looked
cooked, she was that brown.

She handled everything,
and if you were alone,
helped moor the boat
but never said much.

Lodged in memory now
an island in oblivion,
though I only drove
upriver once or twice.

The burning surfaces are alive
and life in recall is both
near and far like a reflection
of the world in mirrored glasses.

spring 2006


Robert James Berry

The rivers are tired of drowning
the trees fall to their knees weeping leaves

gales sculpt monumental follies
like hoved in granite heads of kings

and all the rock strata, seamed with evolution's invalids,
the spent of creation

hide a past the sea has deleted
or mistranslated into sunshine

like shored-up yawls, beach-litter
and big statements of sun-smitten wood the ocean will have.

Cities not yet conceived on the volcanic sand and mangroves
that reach east where bush, where mud solemnize

shall all obey the decades, that are milestone suffrages
for time to pick clean.

Until I, keeper of these esoteric runes
hear the swell breathe

over our graves already fingered by river water
over the surf's irascible cuss

and read an augur in the round, shore pebbles
ingrained with dark.

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