The Adirondack Review
FALL 2017
Two Poems

This road is liable to flooding. It
just can’t help itself. Even the thick trees 
that hint at the curve’s tightness, when the wind 
shimmies through them in an old god warning, 
desire garden to be brought to garden, 
desire mud-slick tires. This road dreams river
beds, currents, mica reflections, purls, trout
speckled rocks, hysterical girls wading 
to their waists.
                        When it rains, birdcall prayers
fly close to the tarmac, now a silver
mirror oxidized. These, the road believes,
songs of saturation, of minerals,
of body to body transformed, swallow
what we are, give back a soft shoulder of sky.


No one yet knows.

The trains stopped in long lines 
of coach cars, purple and numbered,
unable to continue
until the tracks near Retford
have been cleared.

We are allowed to disembark,
to hold our tickets like lots,
to stand stretch in the platform sun,
to watch the stillness, 
the rested scales
of the high voltage wires
against the cellophane sky.

A mother and vague father 
who cement sit
do not watch their child, 
some eight year old boy in a stained shirt
who teases the fall off point:
 the northbound track’s bumper.

A woman complains to the porter—
delays to her connections, to her destination.

But the porter cannot tell how long
it will take to determine
his intentions—

Did the train come to him?
Or did he come to the train? 

He cannot tell how long
it will take to remove
a body cut from itself.

JOHN WALSER's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous journals, including Barrow Street, Nimrod, december magazine, Spillway, the PinchFourth River, the Baltimore Review, the Evansville Review, The Normal School, Lumina, Dressing Room Poetry Review, and Lunch Ticket. He was a featured poet in the September 2014 issue of Connotation Press: An Online Artifact and has twice been a semi-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize. A Pushcart nominee, he is the recipient of the 2015 Lorine Niedecker Poetry Award.