By Atsuro Riley Atsuro Riley
Come the marrow-hours when he couldn't sleep,
the boy river-brinked and chorded.

Mud-bedded himself here in the root-mesh; bided.
Sieved our alluvial sounds—

Perseverating fiddler-crabs pockworking the pluff-mud;   

(perforated) home-bank gurgle and seethe;   

breathing burrow-holes, under-warrens,   
         (pitched) pent-forts, coverts;   

a rabbity heart-hammering amongst the canes;   

bleat of something;   

sleeping Mama grinding (something) with her jaw;

Daddy rut-graving gravel driving off;

the desolated train-trestle rust-buckling   —and falling;

an echo-tolling cast-iron skillet like a gong;

downrivering      gone      (gone)      gone      (gone);

Sylvia supper-calling her fish-camp fish with a bell;

putting her tea kettle! wren-calls on for the crying   
         marsh-wren orphans;

R.T. tale-telling down by Norton's Store   
         "Where every Story cauls a Grief";

Daddy   —nine-eyed, knee-walking—   aisle-weeping at the Bi-Lo;

Mama mash-sucking sour loquats in the shed;

ire-salts quartzifying in the dark;

the caustics;   

the fires;   

far Fever Creek revival-tents hymning and balming;

bees thrive-gilding the glade;

hand-strang bottle-oaks (and intricated yardwire-works)   
         clocking and panging;

Viaduct Forge & Foundry beating time;   

the bait-boys along the dock drum-dunting their buckets;   

vowel-howling over the water;   

the river;   


Source: Poetry (December 2007).


This poem originally appeared in the December 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

December 2007
 Atsuro  Riley


Atsuro Riley grew up in South Carolina lowcountry and lives in San Francisco. His heavily stressed, percussive, consonant-rich, free-verse poems conjure up the elemental images of the lives of people inhabiting a specific, acutely portrayed landscape. His poems are dense with impressions, voices, and glimpses of people who have experienced the Vietnam War, rural life, and the South. Though grounded in a world that seems . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Home Life, Nature, Landscapes & Pastorals


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