Fall 2014

Edited by Andrea Spofford | Barry Kitterman | Amy Wright


Kayaking, Early Morning

T. J. Sandella

Surely, if god exists
he will choose now to speak with me.
Now being the perfect time,
considering just ahead on the river
there is the crane’s cadence—
how it weaves in and out of the sunlight
piercing the trees, how the oak’s leaves
drift from their branches
to settle on water, sending ripples
into orbit—an echo to fall’s arrival.

But I’m too easily distracted
by beauty. Con men can smell me— 
sell me anything if it’s shiny
and symmetrical.

Even these solitary trips
downriver leave me vulnerable.
And if god appeared
to talk to me, man to man,
hombre a hombre,
forfeiting his guises of burning bushes
and thunder and lightning,
I would probably forget myself
and firmly shake his hand—even thank him,
perhaps, for the birds,
all that business with the sun.

I wouldn’t ask
about war, famine, or natural disasters
and I certainly wouldn’t inquire
about Mom’s recurring cancer
or blue-faced overdosed sisters.

With all that sleight-of-hand splendor,
he could come and he could go,
and no one could ever say he didn’t give
at least one of us a chance to understand
this misery, this bewildering beauty.

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