EPIC Poetry Group: Poet’s Corner — July Afternoon, The Saint John’s River, Blasted Echoes

Here’s the latest installment of Poet’s Corner, presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.

July Afternoon

She tells me I am the light green color

of grass turning sharp and light

exhaling the wet smells as it yellows,

as the sun kindles the summer,

as the earth dries and burnishes.


That is why the dragonflies light on me

to lounge.  The little blue ones snapped shut.

The big black ones with white snake skin

cummerbunds spread out their double wings.

I melt beneath them like a patch of mud.


I’m charmed to be so drowsy and loose

that nature mistakes me for a tousled field,

a place to settle for a nap, a shrub.

She tells me I’m the color that they like.

They hold me down to bless me with this rest.


Kristina Rozdilsky Stapleton

~ ~ ~ ~

The Saint John’s River

For John Rozdilsky

On his birthday

6/16/1941 – 9/26/2009

Slow moving brown and brim full of silt,

A mature river like old well-worn love

Holds bits and stolen grains of every place

That it has ever been.  It bears the load

Slow as possible, holding back its final reach

Into the boundless ocean waves of sea

Just to kiss each edge of shore it can

Before it makes the place where rivers end.


Lap my feet and hands on this hot day.

I promise I will meet you on the beach

Anonymous as you are in every wave.

No longer named a saint inside your course,

You play in every current in the sea,

Spread thin throughout the watery world,

In every cloud and mood of weather swirled,

You draw my sweat to join you in humidity.


Kristina Rozdilsky Stapleton

~ ~ ~ ~

Blasted Echoes

It is the same train

That raged through Titlow Beach,

That loitered past the dingdong

Gates of the city to ultimately part

This town from its waterfront.


I heard its lonely chords

In the distance down there

From my single bed in Tacoma,

But here the obstinate blare

Of the horn is thick with memory:


The engineer that plowed over

Boys who wouldn’t listen

Hangs on the horn with horror every time

He passes Edmonds where he hit them.


He wails the presence of his train

With repetition and from the other shore

The blast returns at lower register

Bouncing back the message in soft echoes:


The murmur of a mutual refrain returned,

The reprise of repercussion doubled down

Like reciprocated love or unforgotten pain

Or the dead who live on in the mind of sound.


Kristina Rozdilsky Stapleton

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Kristina Stapleton has always lived in Western Washington. She began writing poetry at 15 and studied with David Wagoner, Nelson Bentley and Kim Addonizio. A poetry group she started in 1989 still meets today. She writes for pleasure, reads for fun and avoids submission.

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