Flow

Down the path between the apples
through the maple grove of suicides
then left at the old wall
along the wire fence to the brook-
bank where narcissus noses
into skunk cabbage and hepatica:
Call me Apollo, crashing in the underbrush   
with my arrows, my bow saw and clippers   
out for your flash of white tail and alert
to hack me a path to your lair, to your cult’s den,   
crisscrossing the water with Phoebe again and again   
as it elbows below us and runs
for the creek racks
strongest in springtime when everything’s liquid,   
tightroping over the rocks
in the plashing braid, hot on your sharp
scent and battling the mayflies
the black flies horseflies mosquitoes   
there under the raspberry brambles and getting no nearer . . .

Or am I fleeing your coiling uncoiling   
tentacular embrace
battered and scarred, am I seeing   
your fabled face in the oily pools,
are these fern hairs sprouting at your knuckles
branchbones, little leaves halving
our limbs with leaves—are they yours or mine?   
Your bloodhounds bay at the copper
creek, your velvet cape’s aloft
in the chiaroscuro breeze, you’re near, nearer,   
hieing, heying, I’m falling, failing,
gashed, gutted, kneed-up,
muddy and galled—call me
Actaeon....


Jonathan Galassi, “Flow” from North Street and Other Poems (New York: HarperCollins, 2001). Copyright © 2001 by Jonathan Galassi. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Source: North Street and Other Poems (HarperCollins Publishers Inc, 2000)
More Poems by Jonathan Galassi