Near the Bend
Bruce, with his hard boxed Winstons,
and barely bound strip worn matchbooks,
his voice the burning marsh,
smoldering leaf for leaf,
sycamores and palmettos
a russet blanket of cypress.
He called himself a river rat,
loved the bend, and took me there,
beyond the big tree, we brought beer
an octet of stodgy Miller Ponies
with grooved, twist off caps
gold glinting with embellishments.
We watched steamships, supertankers,
barges going upriver and gulf bound, one from Tunisia,
the rounded lozenge like disk
a crescent and a star on the red flag,
dissipating letters bearing a name
the barrels holding dredged and distilled histories,
gliding, without segue or pause.