Bruce Parker holds an MA in Secondary Education from the University of New Mexico. His work appears in Triggerfish Critical Review, Pif, Blue Unicorn, Cerasus, and elsewhere. He lives in Portland, Oregon, and is an Associate Editor at Boulevard. He authored Ramadan in Summer, (Finishing Line Press, 2022).
A Douglas fir weaves the air, presses
and releases currents of silence and sighs,
signals of something unseen in the sunlight.
It wrestles the breeze to the ground, grips the soil with
roots like talons. The air disappears
without a cry. What is foreign here
is the man who notices the tree’s transfigured limbs,
its branches made into weaver’s hands.
He does not belong but longs to be
caressed, like the air, by the hands of the tree.
You are my field guide to love,
its habitat and range shown by
a blue patch on the outline of North America.
You list love’s call, six notes on a stave,
and note the difference in love’s plumage,
male and female. You tell me of love’s migration,
how it navigates by starlight and the pull
of earth’s magnetic poles, how it finds
its feeding grounds, how it flies in a V,
the lakes and rivers it rests upon,
how a hunter can kill it.
“Give up Silence”
—Frank Bidart, “Coda”
A crow-size bird with black wings,
white tummy, yellow beak,
inhabits a window and
give up silence,
silence that enfolds,
its grip that tightens with time,
give it up, speak, raise your hoarse voice,
say what must be said,
before great silence to come
Give it up for song
miles through mountains,
give it up
cold joy of mountains radiant with snow.
May 1, 2022
Appearing in Triggerfish Critical Review in January 2023
The sustained line curves, whips above and across a river, gilded by sunlight,
something on the end of it, a weight to bring it along,
the end holding a false fly to lure a trout to rise to the surface to eat,
and it is snagged, pulled, engaged so others
The sustained pull pulls the trout to the surface
again and again, unaware
that the end of the line will see it in sunlight
out of the depths, away from the cool running darkness in which it thrives,
that this line, despite its sinuous beauty
which seems alive,
while the trout is the thing with life in it.
All rivers run to the sea where they cease to be.
Sustained by rain and melted snow, they run by default downhill,
bordered by maples or firs or rocks that absorb sunlight’s heat,
and vision is sustained one more day in a long line of days
that curl and whip,
pulled across the universe
by something heavy on the end that snags and lifts from water to air.