American River at Twilight by Jeff Burt

From the crushed granite foothills of the Sierras
I hear the call of Steinbeck in the river,
the struggles of laborers in the field
three hundred miles away,
the reservoirs flush with winter melt
peace-full yet not waters that will stay put,
never the still waters that Psalms has called,
the rush to reach roadside eucalyptus
shedding ribbons of bark in the winter
winding along Highway 101,
cascading to the curse of rocks pulled
from the outcropping by Jeffers to build his house.
I hear mariachi bands, sweeping water
like strums of vihuelas, the triumphal brass
of the common man in the deep splash
of water eroding the rocks of property.
In the river I see a flash of gold, my eyes search
the dry pan of the Sacramento Valley,
then, like water, head for the coast.


Jeff Burt lives in California with his wife amid the redwoods and two-lane roads wide enough for one car. He works in mental health. He has work in The Watershed Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Spry, Atticus Review, and The Monarch Review. He was the featured 2015 summer issue poet of Clerestory, and won the 2017 Cold Mountain Review Narrative Poetry Prize.

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