"I am trying to check my habits of seeing, to counter them for the sake of greater freshness. I am trying to be unfamiliar with what I'm doing." - John Cage

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The opposite of train

by Karen Terrey

Paddle across yourself. Canadian geese black feet push push
pushing left, right. High in grey trees, osprey gather

rope bark molted coyote fur. The train shot up tracks straight
from Truckee to the pier at Tahoe Tavern and past, sparks igniting lumber,

each plank a milled forest. Heavy wheels spinning iron hundred feet out
over the lake. Stopped at a dead still idle, engines spewing.

San Francisco socialites, sequined flapper dresses, those perfect hems at the hip,
slim suits, disembarked. Yellow moonrise above the Carson Range.

The opposite of train is lake. Brimming. Soft feathers hard in fast wind.
She reveals only what obscures – sky, storm, light.

Wind ripples her misleading surface. Long bent wings. She
dances the salmon orgy each spring running from Camp Richardson,

fat and urgent. Stone rubs feet raw, soil-to-be. Drop
beneath the tension. Open your eyes. A lakebed of satiated volcanoes.

Silence. Tucked bodies diving. No more train. Uprooted pier
became window frames, hundred-year-old redwood, so old and hard

it doesn’t need to be sealed. Lake so old and hard, loss
hangs in her deepest waters, a gallery on fishing line.

Published in Rattlesnake Review #18 Summer 2008

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