F. Daniel Rzicznek
Pickerel Creek I
When the marsh surrounds it,
when the hawks come around
to it, it’s nothing: five boards and a lid
balanced on a mound of reeds,
snow, eventual corpse as ballast,
brain mute as a cliff’s face,
some decay kept out, some sealed in.
Swallows veer in the yellowing sky—
what is anything to anything?
Ice will melt, give. Spring will claim it.
A hundred years, a thousand years—
a face shining if the world is there.
Pickerel Creek III
Hawks in the snow in the marsh
along the road where nothing can end.
I only perceive them as a voice in the snow
I cannot hear, their million angles
an insistent weight. After day is drained,
plowed under, I find a steadiness
and I don’t let go: a darker sliver
of belief now visible but nothing
can be seen from the center.
See now the trouble here—look again.
Here I can never inhabit one place
at one time as no singularities remain.
Snow descending for a sixth hour
and the flashing hawks still not sated.
Divination at Herrick
Wanting a sign I’ve wandered
without you, looking:
three nearly invisible rabbits,
geese back among the hilltops, clacking
like beloveds. Must be seen. A dirtbike
hurtles down the lane a half mile behind me.
Make it fine, just so: one green thread
running the blue part of its length.
I can find no thistles. The dove clutches
a branch with nothing to say. No signs come.
Then, nothing itself arrives.
The blue jays of the path demand longer lines
but don’t wait long to hear them.
No ducks on the purple marsh
yet the old mysteries rush back with the force
of ten thousand deaths reversed—
I have no idea when I walked here last.
What a complete fool you’ve become.
F. Daniel Rzicznek is the author of two poetry collections, Divination Machine (Free Verse Editions/Parlor Press) and Neck of the World (Utah State), as well as four chapbooks: Live Feeds (Epiphany Editions), Nag Champa in the Rain (Orange Monkey Publishing), Vine River Hermitage (Cooper Dillon Books), and Cloud Tablets (Kent State). He is coeditor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry: Contemporary Poets in Discussion and Practice (Rose Metal Press). His recent poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Volt, Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, Bombay Gin, and elsewhere. Rzicznek teaches writing at Bowling Green State University in Ohio.