Today's poem is by Carlos Martinez

Pumpkins in the Skagit

Last winter, during the unexpected floods,
pumpkins broke free of their fields and drifted downriver,
bobbing among splintered logs and chairs,
the bodies of drowned deer, the roof

of a house where one could easily imagine
smoke rising from the tilted chimney. On the river bank
that shrank moment by moment, we stood in our rubber boots
and backed up without thinking

about what we were doing, backed
toward the high road
where our cars were parked, our cares in their dark trunks,
the headlights still on, and watched

the pumpkins pushed along by the current,
watched them smash against
the piers of swaying bridges,
watched them float beneath

the girders and spans, the cars rushing above them, and knew
tomorrow or the next day after, the muddy water would recede,
the river would turn steel gray again, safely confined, not to worry
anyone with its raw power, the places where trees

had been ripped from the soil and where houses
had washed away, would be revealed again,
glistening with mud, covered with possessions and
artifacts from upstream, and we would have gone home,

already forgetting the water's surge, forgetting its sounds,
its strong bass susurrus, and we would be comfortable
in our warm homes far from the river,
drinking our coffee and smoking our cigarettes, our TV's

on to the reports of what had happened
and what we would remember most of all would be
the legions of pumpkins bobbing in the swirling water,
their calm migration to the sea.

Copyright © 2004 Carlos Martinez All rights reserved
from The Cold Music of the Ocean
Finishing Line Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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