Held up by a canoe held up by the river,

she gently slices through my line of sight.

I only see, in addition to the jacket

covering nearly all of the top half

of a plain dress, a lace cap that might

have been made millions of years ago,

when the other side of the river might have

met itself halfway.


That’s enough imagination for now.

Modern life is what the jacket stands for.

Not too long ago, I think, people

had to be able to swim, whereas

now modern death is racing past—no,

I don’t know where this is going.

I just want to say that from where I stand,

the river doesn’t look diseased.


It looks like water

paddling toward new innovations, like new

motor skills that bodies need in order

to put on life, and to wear death down.

What was I thinking before the gentle slice,

before whatever this is began to start up?

I think I was thinking that imagination

has covered my head for too long—or

for so long that I can’t live without it.     



Douglas Nordfors has published poems in such journals as Iowa Review, Quarterly West, Poetry Northwest, Poet Lore, Burnside Review, Louisville Review, Poetry South, Chariton Review, The Hollins Critic, Potomac Review, California Quarterly, 2River, Broad River Review, and others. His three books of poetry are Auras (2008), The Fate Motif (2013), and Half-Dreaming (2020), all published by Plain View Press.

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