Some Are So Close

by J. P. Dancing Bear

for Ralph Angel
If I allow myself this moment in the fog—
Something flaps. There is a squawk. Something shimmies
in the quiet mouth of the river
and then everything begins to shake. Such restlessness
in water and I cannot help but ripple
out of my place.
And it begins again, only louder—
feet dancing underwater, some are so close to speaking
in tongues, that they lift into immediate air
but splash back down.
The snowy egret tolerates it all from his solitary hunt at the shore.
He is focused on more plastic trash
than I ever thought was made;
this crowd of Sufi gulls manic trancing another
hour of his day—an impossible distraction
from the real business of fish.
And here am I in my quiet trade
of walking.  I thought I knew what air meant
bristling my quills, but I do not
possess such an anatomy, I do not profess
this tongue to be an instrument.

I am here, not even a ghost in fog,
yet somehow the hour has gotten very late.





J. P. Dancing Bear J. P. Dancing Bear is the author of nine collections of poetry, most recently, Inner Cities of Gulls (2010, Salmon Poetry). His next book, Family of Marsupial Centaurs, will be released by Iris Press. His poems have been published in Mississippi Review, Third Coast, DIAGRAM, Verse Daily and many other publications. He is editor for the American Poetry Journal and Dream Horse Press. Bear also hosts the weekly hour-long poetry show, Out of Our Minds, on public station, KKUP and available as podcasts.