Caryl Pagel Poems




River Walk (Before the Flood)



A short walk glance left to the riverbank

where dark grasses edge the water’s eddy

not frozen now where great willows shadow

White Trout Lily submerged American

Lotus submerged rubble submerged wreck of

the dorm or honeycomb submerged in light

threading white mire to dankly mangled shores

A short walk glance left but turn I to the right         

Step to the corner of Church a girl

at the bus stop shifts her weight with bag to

wave across the street arc broken by scat-

tered mid-morning traffic          I know every

breath of it          Air in the sky unpeeling

we see cinnamon skin of a River

Birch not          No more rime on the limb no more

frost between bricks I skim this way to work       

each morning stalking titles staked in soil

signs saying Mayflower north find a Sea-

shore south the map remains unspoiled          Still see

the river has not yet risen         I’d swear

nothing’s drowned          It is not such a sorry

fate to be the last stranger in this town.








Footing fails over the slightest ache in

the arc of an aerial

root          We notice not

the mirroring of gnarled


systems underground but we have seen the

drawings          Know there are pores for

breathing          Know there are

furious eddies of struc-


ture that refuse to anchor          They suffer

no nodes          We were just a child

once          Now there is this

liminal design inside         


Soon it will pass in the form of a wan

wandering fog through our thoughts          

Here we rest in the

presence of new cells decay-


ing & new cells splitting forth at disas-

trous speeds as most things—          una-

ccounted for          We were

just a child once & now suff-


er bole wrists profoundly brittle          When re-

lieved of this remaining strife

who recovers the

next rotten architecture. 





Caryl Pagel's poems and essays appear or are forthcoming in 1913: A Journal

of Forms, MAKE Magazine, notnostrums, and Thermos. Her chapbook, Visions,

Crisis Apparitions, and Other Exceptional Experiences, is available from

Factory Hollow Press.



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