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On the Inundated First Site of the Town of Greenville

ISSUE:  Winter 1995

Spoonbill catfish big as Confederate soldiers
rout in the mud under uninterruptable darkness.
Gaspergou make mournful drumming.

Where did the cottonwoods grow in the yards
when the wind god laid his lip to the flue,
blundering like a small-town flautist?

Somewhere broken brick lies feathered
by fine silt. Snagged loops
of a rusted cable rot
in the rootwreck of a cypress.

Years ago, just here, where the muddy river
wrinkles and comes unwrinkled,
there was a bonewhite sandbar. Friends
on a warm night lay there, keeping the dawn watch,
talking. Near midheaven, meteors streamed
out of the eyes of Perseus, and the boy’s hand slid
to the largest knuckle under her waistband.

What did the river do with the sandgrains
shaken out of her long hair?
Where is the sizzle her breath made
cooling her clenched teeth and her tonguetip?
What’s left now of the jurisdiction of gooseflesh?


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