Issue 12

Summer 2014


Picture yourself in a boat on a river

Merge with the dappled shade around you.
Rumours tell of hidden folk that will roam
the riverbank on flickering evenings, leaving
ambiguous love letters and small heaps of bones
that crackle and glow like campfires in the dusk.

The marsh is rife with scuttlebugs; timber moss
sprouts fly agaric, wild orchids, cypress,
boreal cottonwood. Long skid tracks, paved
with logs like corduroy, musk and restless
cords of lichen, brackish ties hanging loose.

Now the river runs low, warm and slow:
faire-zhingo water, follow-me water, inky blue,
copper, purple. Sedges sing of barbwire reflections.
Green sturgeons are grazing the riverbed,
bitterns and cranes loom in the darkling haze.

Mushkish the Muckringer is back, sharky maw
full of truth, whalebones, pokeweed, propellers
and vetch, hemlock, mandrake, lordly nightshade
bittersweet or deadly. Here grows the mushroom
the women in the village call Preacher’s Pecker.

Keep faith with the masked owl and its hymnals,
peat-diggers' game of naming the transluminaries.
Staking out in the ninth circle of hell tonight?
In spite of the great eclipse, the shambolic dark
beyond the pale, you can get there by candlelight.

Spells of silence are floating like maple leaves
blown from an ancient iron foundry in the hills.
Theirs are the names you hear when you hold
a big seashell close to your ear. Theirs is a mission
that requires more precision than power. Tra la la la.


Jane Røken