In the Pines

          How can you make a case for yourself
          before an ocean of trees, or standing
          waist-deep in the river?… Jim Harrison, “Cabin Poem”

John Repp

In a canvas rucksack, he totes grief’s rootstock & the overripe,
avocado-ish fruit of the go-along-get-along tree (Caecus timore)

deep in the pines, his carpe diem friend setting the pace along
the packed-sand trail, rumor of river scenting the Venus-hot air,

horsefly crowns of thorns bouncing on both their heads,
sweat coursing down their crisping torsos & crimson legs,

sneakers damp & flexing & there comes a clearing
near a river bend where they drop everything & step naked

into willow-hooped shade, find the channel neck-deep & narrow
& bob up & under an uncounted span of cool, purling bliss

among water-skaters, white butterflies, moss & watercress,
echoic blurts of gut-bucket gratitude without end.

John Repp‘s most recent collection of poetry is The Soul of Rock & Roll: Poems Acoustic, Electric & Remixed, 1980-2020, just published by Broadstone Books.

© Variant Literature Inc 2021