To James Wright, Ohio River Poet




I thought of you this morning,

imagined you whispering

the white moon soft into

my open mouth, your kiss

become a bone bright sliver

stitching stars onto my tongue.

you spilled your words, your

heartland spirit, here beneath

my skin. how do I claim you

Ohio River-Buddha,

your noble plains? I feel

your leathery face, your

chin, rough against my

cheek, softly searing your

exalted America deep

into my flesh, a scar. can I

share it with you, be

a worthy child? You gave me

your rough bowler's hands, a

tender willow heart, softly

plaited like the reeds.

I want to pluck your poems

from the hilltops. can we

fly together, you and I, away

from this divided island, share

a single sun or am I doomed

to falter in my loneliness

and tumble? would you love

me, father, my own heart, my

flesh? had I known you,

I'd have shared a drink

with you (though I know it

would have killed us much

too soon). I'd have impaled

my body on your clever

pen, and kissed your sweet,

nostalgic eyes with my own

dying just to taste your

sweet country, now forced

under my skin by blood-

soaked hands, who’ve torn

your sweet valley in two.

(c) Karekin M Yarian, 2018, San Francisco, CA, USA