“Crossing the Jordan”, Matt Alberswerth

 

From the journal Prometheus Dreaming ,  I liked this poem by Matt Alberswerth which has strong echoes of Ted Hughes:

 

 

Crossing the Jordan

Did the fish hear me when my ankle broke the surface of the water?

They followed your steps with their glassy eyes.

What moved the branch as I walked beneath it?

It was a hungry wind.

When it touched my hair did I feel cold and scared?

Only as scared as you should. Only as cold as you were.

Were my feet cut by the creek’s rock bed?

It drank what blood there was.

Something warned me as I crossed water. What warned me?

It was a barred owl.

What warned me?

A horned grebe.

What warned me?

A fox, its belly full of stars.

At the middle of the river, the water was up to my knees. What saw me?

The fox kept watch, its belly full of stars.

How did I know?

You saw its shadow from bridge. It was cast by the moon.

What did I see?

You saw the fox was a wolf. Mother of darkness, specked with snow.

What did I see?

You saw the she-wolf drag the moon down.

What did I do when I saw the moon fall?

You dunked yourself in the water.

Did the cold water choke me?

It did and it does.

When the dark water cloaked me, did I feel cold and scared?

Only as cold as you were. Only as scared as you should.

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