A Walk Along the Zagyva


A photo I took by the Zagyva this morning, and a new poem.

A Walk Along the Zagyva

The jagged margin should suffice as proof
that this here “you” was salvaged from old lore,
a muddy stretch that no one really knows
but for its way of sounding like a stream.
In any case, this isn’t meant for you,
whoever you may be, but if you find
its driftwood to your liking, take your pick,
and walk away the richer. Who am I
to claim such water-tossings? Nobody.
The catch is this: naming the jagged edge,
detaching “you” from you, can I pretend
nothing was cracked and amble my way down
into the matter? I don’t see why not;
since you and I stopped speaking years ago,
these words are pure contraption anyhow,
and purity does not give up midway.
Moreover, what I have to say is not
what you might dread from me—a fisted cry
or penned apology for old debris—
but something harder: knowledge of the law.
Nothing in modern or medieval code
says hearts cannot be broken, but to date
we have no proper cracking place, except
in verse and song; no parliament or court
gives figure to the breach, and prose itself
distorts through grim precision. Even song
forgets sometimes: it isn’t only love
that gets the axe, but friendship’s early drafts,
things said too soon, unwindable, unlike
a fisherman I really saw today
by the vague river. He would toss a line
and wait, then reel it in and shift
his place and try again. But this requires
a general indifference to fish
along with a true love of catching them.
We humans fail at pure indifference;
we lift each other up in difference.
But then we’re clumsy, too—or I, at least,
tossing the mask of “we,” can say I slipped
and fell. No code prohibits even this;
therefore some errors have no legal name,
and all the judges sitting on the wall
(you too, perhaps, though who am I to know?)
hurl follies at the margin’s lilting line.


As usual, I made a few changes to this after posting it.

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