Cameron Scott

Your Sentence is the River

The way each word carries past.
The way each day carries. Your sentence
is to sit on red sandstone and mossy rocks
and feel the words and days press against
your submersed feet. Old salt knows
the pull of water, fathoms deep, but
snowmelt knows the push. To begin is
to stand in the flow. To end is to push off.
Everything carried downstream is flotsam.
Each wreckage that washes in from the sea
stranded on the river’s great delta. Barges.
Dirges. The way each singer carries
the ashes of the dead. There is no
underworld, there are only flowers
which spring up from the soil.

Your Sentence is the Fall

Snow on the peaks. Again yellow leaves
find their way from branches into the river,
drift deeper and deeper, with less and less light.
Wake up from work to find summer’s passing
and in resignation return to winter. If there
is anticipation for everything, looking forward,
why do some of us burrow like velvety moles
beneath the earth and only want to emerge
in the perfection of spring? Is it the way we
are meant to worship, when the earth is soft
and food is frequent, when everything is tender
then the tenderest of us surface in reverence?
Bears did not always hibernate like bears.
Bulbous balls of muscle, fur and fat. Each
a small sun. Each as terrible as summer itself.
But instead were more slender like wolves.
Less solitaire. Roamed in packs. Were once
as small as squirrels and as frequent. It is
one thing to say you know winter. And another
to live through winter after winter, present
through squall and swale. A living ice. Ever
present hunger, your body itself a storm.
Even the sea has its seasons of light. Even
the mole will emerge and offer itself
to the coyote or hawk. Even then there
is a difference between the name and the thing.
To be part of the world or the world itself.

Author Portrait

Cameron Scott received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Arizona. His work has appeared most recently in Silk Road, Borderlands: Texas Poetry Review, Clerestory, and The Flyfish Journal. He writes an outdoor column for the La Grande Observer and spends his summers as a fly fishing guide in Colorado and winters in Oregon teaching creative writing for Fishtrap, a literary arts non-profit. The Book of Ocho, his first collection of poetry, was recently published through AGS Press.

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