Russell Rowland


It is not for the living these divers--lithe,
seal-skinned, submerging bottoms-up
as ducks do--search in tannin-colored
semi-darkness. Those who still breathe
do not hide here, waiting to be found.

No, nothing they retrieve will be the face
on posters, returning the camera's gaze
in a manufactured moment of repose.

It is said there was a quick shrug of thin
shoulders, after praise from the teacher:
so we persist in our hope that something
survives the journey from dust to dust.

We'll speak of "closure," if amphibious
primates wade ashore, awkward on fins,
bearing the waterlogged remnant of one
spared further sorrow. The divers, out
of their wetsuits, and parents themselves
perhaps, will not trudge away thankless;

none of us so ungracious as to suggest
they've not quite found what is missing.

Russell Rowland is from New Hampshire's Lakes Region. A five-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he is a past winner of Old Red Kimono's Paris Lake Poetry Contest and twice winner of Descant's Baskerville Publishers Poetry Prize. His chapbook, Train of All Cabooses, is available from Finishing Line Press.

Current | Archives    Submit | Masthead    Links | Donate   Contact | Sundress