Michael Dobberstein: "Ruck"




What’s left of winter looks left to die in March.

Trees, undergrowth tangle and twist

Together like obsessed lovers, like

A Jackson Pollack mapped to a landscape

Of icy mud, grey sky, the trickle of slush

In the ditch, silvery in the dense brown, grey-black.


Forms without structure. Each line, shape,

Bare in the shiver of wind, each only itself, obvious

As a breast so the eye tries to follow, wants

To compose one to the other, the broken limb

Fallen across the vertical stripe, say,


Of the tree, but the delicate red of something sinuous,

Thorny, that traces the mass, loops

And dives and twists back and around without

End, or beginning. The world is oblivious,

Perfect. Slender reeds of tall grasses wave,

A yellow banner, dry as bones in the wind.



Michael Dobberstein teaches creative writing, desktop publishing, and literature at Purdue University-Calumet. He has published poems in Beloit Poetry Journal, Cumberland Review, The Formalist, The New Formalist, Pebble Lake Review, Poetry, and other journals.