Why you don’t want the gates open
In paradise, it rains and rains
until the mud runs rivers
down the streets and sweeps
mailboxes posts from driveways.
In the dark, there, you can always
hear the song of the waters
through the still curtain
and the double pane,
piccolo droplets from eaves
the bass moan of heavy flow.
Somewhere tires grip asphalt,
a siren cries for the wounds
it races towards and those
who it will leave to mourn.
The secret, of course, is that
all floods must lead to flotsam,
to the bobbing of the dead
face down in the still spots.
We couldn’t be more water
and remain ourselves,
but somehow our skins
keep it out like Ziplocs.
One day, you could walk
the water’s edge; if you follow
it far enough a vantage
will come eventually.
For now, squirrels on the roof.
Branches that blow free
from trunk that clatter
on shingle. You never need
to ask twice what was the sound
of a tree falling on your neighbor’s
house. You just hope there won’t
be a splintered crib, that you’ll
look away fast enough not to know.
Andrew Najberg is the author of the chapbook of poems Easy to Lose (Finishing Line Press, 2007). His individual poems and prose have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies both in print and online, including North American Review, Cimarron Review, Istanbul Review, Bangalore Review, Faultline Journal, Louisville Review, Yemassee, and Nashville Review, and he is a previous recipient of an AWP Intro award in poetry. Currently, he teaches creative writing and other courses for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where he also assists with the Meacham Writers Workshop.