Celia Bland/poem: April in Place

There are so many fewer 
trains now.  
Our house is tall 
and porous and the 
chucking trains, shrilling 
warnings to 
rail walkers, fishermen, drug 
dealers, dog walkers
until now have 
punctuated our days as the 
shrill metallic
hunks of freights
disturbed our sleep
for twenty years 
now. Now, silence.  
Barges barrel 
courses up and down 
stream, tall as our roofline
now.  Hulls porous and 
rusty with flaking 
registrations from the Maldives 
and Malta, forced along by 
brightly trim tugs, 
nannies pushing prams now. 
The wake they cut 
white-cap waves 
on river banks where 
families now skip
rocks, poke 
sticks. Clustered like
tulips. Now
clans isolate as if their 
piece of rocky beach  
were stall or cubicle. 
And birds!  The quietude 
of deaths made lovely 
now by robin song.  
Pileated woodpecker 
and baby mockingbird. 
Now an eagle hovers on currents 
over river; it looks like a 
drone but flaps its wings, one slow beat.


Celia Bland is co-editor with Martha Collins of Jane Cooper: A Radiance of Attention (U. of Michigan 2019).  Her poetry was the subject of an essay by Jonathan Blunk in the summer 2019 issue of The Georgia Review. Her third collection,  Cherokee Road Kill (Dr. Cicero) features pen and ink drawings by Japanese artist Kyoko Miyabe, and the title poem received the 2015 Raynes Prize.  Her work is included in Native Voices: Indigenous American Poetry, Craft and Conversation (Tupelo Press) and is upcoming in Plume, Posit, and Southern Humanities Review. 

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