the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Spring 2013



Moyra Donaldson

The Goose Tree

'there are likewise here many birds called barnacles,
which nature produces in a wonderful manner, out of
her ordinary course'

               Topographia Hibernia, 12th Century

There are certain trees
whereon shells grow,
white coloured,
tending to russet.

Each shell contains
a little living creature;
like the first line
of a poem, a thing

like a lace of silk
delicately woven,
one end of which
is fastened to the shell,

while the other
feeds into the belly
of a rude mass,
which in time comes

to the shape and form
of a bird. When the bird
is perfectly grown,
the shell begins to gape.

First lace, then legs,
then all comes forth
until the goose hangs
only by the beak.

A short space after,
at full maturity,
it falls into the sea,
where it gathers feathers.

Those that fall
onto the land perish
and become nothing.
A blank page.


Night River

I lie in its suspended green light
between surface and depth,
between knowing and unknowing,
where ripples distort my seeing
and my dreaming eye never closes.

Memories are the floating fronds
that wind me tight and hold me
in this neither nor place.
I have forgotten forgetting
and how to sink sleep deep.



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