Poems by Brigit Truex

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Green Medicine Lake

by Brigit Truex

From Canary Spring 2010

Brigit lives close to the South Fork of the American River, about 10 miles from where gold was first "discovered" by John Marshall in Coloma, California.

"It happens subtly, as when a pear
spoils from the inside out,
and you may not be aware
until things have gone too far."

        from The Pear by Jane Kenyon

Brown boundary between lake and June-lush greenery
lures despite the absolute stillness: you and all that is
before you, the space between each blade leaf, the wolf's hidden lair.
You're in a Turner painting, a figure on the winding road
where edges dissolve. Water shimmers sun into air.
        It happens subtly, as when a pear

begins to swell, green-tinged, takes shape
so it fits your palm, faintly warm, faintly speckled
like the flesh of the wilding, silver-sided trout
you hold until it goes slack, eyes clouded as sky.
Fragile life, unlike a thing sun-sered in drought,
        spoils from the inside out,

unnoticed, until the rot appears -- the curious
decline in redknots along the shore, the blue-
white floes dissolving around an invisible bear,
the mournful call of a whale sounding,
unanswered, like a prayer,
        so you may not be aware

of its language, those tonal inflections
meaningful to its own kind. Will these
creatures become mere memory, legendary objects d'art?
Far from this still lake, fates are debated while the moon
hangs dangerously close, like a scimitar,
        until things have gone too far.

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