Hot Metal Bridge

Current Issue : Number Twenty-Five

Inland Northwest


i expected flatness but got stuck tween gullies and one way streets
the wind stampeding 100 feet above, transparent impenetrable ceiling;
with every step the dust of last years harvest and round-up
climbs in my shoes, between my toes, into my veins
with eyes this yellow, skin like dried mud, i’ll never survive another rain storm.
no salt from the sky, you have to dig with fingers open for sampling
the slower they run the better they taste
waiting for feathers to fall from the sky
waiting for a rock sharp enough to down trees
hoping to get the wood inside before spontaneous combustion
yearning for a home that straddles the cascades—a wet back door
and a rain-shadowed front. the price is altitude and falling
never trying to come home out of balance
as furniture on a ridge top must be evenly distributed;
the kitchen in the middle coz everyone goes there.
only one bird comes this high
where the singular pines growl with beetles & thirst

Dan Raphael was born & raised in Pittsburgh, but has lived 3 decades in Portland. Impulse & Warp: The Selected 20th Century Poems (WordCraft of Oregon, 2010) contains work from his first 13 collections. A book of new work, The State I’m In (nine muses books) will be out 2/29/12. Current poems appear in Rattapallax, Otoliths, Skidrow Penthouse and Caliban.