If only I had followed
a new path that moonshot morning
up into the looming mountains.
If only I had left the riverbank
where willows were swooning
and the foothills were kneeling down.
If only I had been listening.
I might have heard a voice
in the waves.
Instead, I turned away forever
to sleep in my small ship
and dream of birds.
Crows, for instance, with their eyes
of blown glass, gathered together
in oaks beside the road.
Swallows dreaming
of an old black bull with mist in its eyes
and moss on its horns.
Blackbirds rising up
from the wide ravenous fields
in autumn.
And the dove, with her great sadness
searching all those years
for an olive branch,
never finding, never finding,
finally turning away from this world
and flying no more.
But also the martyr
with his shining eyes
as he enters the crowded market.

Geoff Collins is not associated with a university, nor has he achieved an MFA. He writes because he loves it. His stories and poems have appeared in a variety of publications, including Amoskeag, Interim, Blue Earth Review, Waterstone Review and Soundings. He lives with his wife and two daughters in a small town in Wisconsin, where he works in the local schools.

Many years ago I travelled with some friends across the country in an old shortbus. We camped several days in the Bighorn mountains next to a beautiful stream. A rickety footbridge led across the stream to a grove of willows and cottonwoods where a trail led up into the mountains. I did not follow the trail, but instead stayed fishing for trout and relaxing beside the stream. This was during a period when suicide bombers were becoming more active in the middle east.




Copyright 2009