A Village Near the Border

Marc Harshman

I read about black-backed gulls

     in the Gulf of Bothnia

     skating under mica-flecked stars

     in the heavy, Swedish winter.

The ghost of a large doe floats

     down the bank, shimmering

     in a confluence of dreams and sirens.

Telepathic, she crosses a frontier

     outside my window and,

     with no passport to show,

     does so with a diffident pride.

I salute, and realize how very close

     reality has come to kiss

     my fingertips with something like blessing.

If only the words could hold still

     long enough for the atoms catapulting

     head over heels within me to abate,

     I might quit trying so hard

     to keep all the lights on

     in this village of gray matter

     and let the tumble-race

     passing for thought subside,

     and then, well, with what truth’s left over,

     perhaps you’ll believe me

     if I tell you we’re nearing

     a border where all will be revealed.


About the Author

Marc Harshman’s WOMAN IN RED ANORAK, won the Blue Lynx Poetry Prize and was published in 2018 by Lynx House/University of Washington Press. His fourteenth children’s book, FALLINGWATER, co-authored with Anna Smucker, was published by Roaring Brook/Macmillan in 2017. He is also co-winner of the 2019 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Award.  Poems have been anthologized by Kent State University, the University of Iowa, University of Georgia, and the University of Arizona.  He is the seventh poet laureate of West Virginia.