The hope a mooncalf follows
is sacrifice for slaughter,
and yet the wings of swallows
still skip across the water. 

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Crossing Geneva Marsh

Mist lingers on the surface
of stagnant tea-brown water.
The flat bridge spans a mile,
a sea of spatterdocks.
 
Tangled stalks of cattails
and swamp grass reach up towards
the underside of the deck,
the chalcedony of cloud.
 
My father’s at the wheel
of his coffin Cadillac,
following a wayward crow
into the depths of autumn.
 
His headlights gaze into
the Nietzschean abyss.
And then the same abyss
gazes back into us.
 
Rear tail-fins cut through
the snapping-turtle air,
past the scarlet oaks
and shagbark hickories.
 
Smoke from his cigar
drifts out his cracked window,
heavenward, as we head
towards the exit at Mercer.
 
We turn in the direction
of Farrell, Sharon, Youngstown, 
and pass the furnaces
of purgatory and hell.
 
September 2010
first appeared in The Pennsylvania Review
 
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© by Leo Yankevich
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