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Monday, December 22, 2008


by Karla Linn Merrifield

Going upstream
testing our limits

canoe & paddles
on Rio Grande

Santa Elena
fatigues us with silt

no Border Patrol
no fence nearby

we edge exhaustion
grow thirsty

with nothing illegal
in our slow thoughts

just making a bend
surely as turtles do

nationality or species

more shade desired
more water necessary

but canyon walls
mock us like ravens

we lumber along

between two countries
belonging only

to tiring muscles
our wasting pink skin

we trespass the silence
without clear borders

in this hot, sere land
accompanied by

thunder—clear warning
to go downstream now

strokes before heat strokes
we must go homeward

but where, how?

A Pushcart Prize nominee and 2009 Everglades National Park Artist-in-Residence, Karla Linn Merrifield has had poetry appear in publications such as CALYX, Earth’s Daughters, Poetica, The Kerf, Negative Capability, Paper Street and Blueline; on line in The Centrifugal Eye,, Elsewhere: A Journal of the Literature of Place, and Elegant Thorn Review, and in several anthologies. In 2006, she edited The Dire Elegies: 59 Poets on Endangered Species of North America, from FootHills Publishing; in 2007, FootHills issued her Godwit: Poems of Canada. She is poetry editor of Sea Stories and poetry book reviewer for The Centrifugal Eye. She teaches writing part-time at SUNY College at Brockport.