New World Wasteland

James B. Nicola

We do not have a wasteland to explore
Like Britain's heaths and moorlands, over here.
We do have deserts, wilderness, and plains,
But, dotted by our desultory towns
With services, or more remote than moors,
They do not haunt as heavily on cares:

We don't see in our suburbs nightly ghosts
Risen from ghastly knolls or morning mists
To mold us as we pass beyond the crag
That dominates the footpath through a bog,
Nor hear the eerie telling of a toll
When markers show where some lost soul once fell.

But in a northern harbor facing east,
Turned spectral by the sailor's mourning mist
Which transports everything, including my
Imagination, back across the sea
To whence this land was ripped—Look at the map!
Or don't you happen to have at hand that app?—,

An unseen vessel clangs to echo deaths
Unheralded, forgotten, as the heath's.

About the Author

James B. Nicola's poems have appeared recently in Lowestoft Chronicle, the Antioch, Southwest and Atlanta Reviews, Rattle, and Poetry East. His nonfiction book Playing the Audience won a Choice award. His two poetry collections, published by Word Poetry, are Manhattan Plaza (2014) and Stage to Page: Poems from the Theater (2016)