Several Islands Have Appeared and Swimming is Possible

Let’s say there wasn’t                         any other way
let’s say my sisters                            stood by the river and waved
hello and goodbye                               it was all the same
but sometimes                                    it dropped its leaves and
we just waited                                     sometimes it pointed
every direction at once                         without going

and the moment had                            only its way with me
a gang of them                                    made up one
and it knew something                         I didn’t
but it didn’t                                         understand each other I
admit I wanted to                                know them
and I didn’t want it to leave me             alone


                      my stories come back marked not at this address or moved and owes me money or try another riverbank or no one even vaguely resembling this has ever lived here and the wind’s hot hand begins reaching beneath the earth’s freshly woven clothing after a season of distance and cool brushing

                      domestic geese nervous about the sunshine after so much gray shake it off like the dust of an old attic while the turtles shuffle onto the bobbing driftwood climbing over each other to let light dry them their little bundled piles of white turd drying to paper and dreaming wondering what they can’t remember

I had to wait for something outside           to come in
after something inside                             had gone out
the distance was greater than                  before
the breadcrumb trail                                my thoughts had been
picked up and                                         swallowed by a crow
happy with himself                                  and the unexpected way the world provides

Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. His story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, was one of five finalists for the 2009 Starcherone Innovative Fiction Prize. In 2010 he has been a finalist in fiction at Black Warrior Review and Mississippi Review and in poetry at Cloudbank and Mississippi Review. In 2011 he is again a finalist in poetry at Mississippi Review. The Spring 2011 Bitter Oleander contains a feature including an interview and 18 of his hybrid works.

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