Pete Warzel


         seamus, glad gabber,
led us to believe
the eccentricity of history’
its modularities
like the black curled insect pods
on the belly side of
locust leaf

so, shiner,
gone fishing in the pure water
of disobedience
the lore is propelled
back from your stroking arms
white foam
and plankton.

on a high ridge at
Minnie’s Gap Wyoming
the teeth of white
are ground down
to stubs
and the long legs of a
geologist, toes painted
midnight red, burn and brown
the texture of desert varnish
on the smooth columns
above the river.

I carried you there
and on a field trip
with you
zipped in the good inner pocket
of a barbour worn on the cuff
and hood seam and waxed back
to service

an osprey made limb
with a cutthroat in its maw
Grendel of the waters but
graceful, coherent, not the torrid nightmare
of time
cicadas ticking
grass dry and flicking
the desert wind as red
as the sun

the quest has begun.
to float to the marriage
of waters deep at the heart
of this land, this America,
at its genital core where
the two rivers open wide
and gush in cool forgiveness

we have no insurrection here
no profound executions
but the small deaths of poverty
and gall, the bloodspills and monumental
imperfections of men
who trust their godliness and lead
the rest, the content.

no one stalks these pine
teeth these piñon seeds
without smelling the soul
of abscess and hole, no
one walks behind the fluid geologist
without inserting a finger
into his past
as both brown
in the sun
and wrinkle in the river.
it is an eternity of learning
the fit of rock and water
and the roots that puncture both,
         words slotted in and meandering.

Location: Denver, Colorado
Publications: Potpourri, Zone3, Gray's Sporting Journal, etc.
Awards: 2000 recipient of the National Council on Literatures Award for Fiction

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