mantra review

Summer 2018


Running at Trearddur Bay

All ghosts. The wavering gull
with a notch in its sooty wing,
chuckling like a philosopher
aloft on some truth you should know.
Your stuttering blood.
The slipstream of your steps
drifting from echo to eclipse,
slow quick slow. On your lips
a gloss of salty mist
finer than unwritten hymns.
One blundering sky. The underbelly
of thunder, a gray language
as vast as the last unknown throat
to erode the standing stones
of its vowels. An orange tennis ball
stamped with a paw print,
dropped in sloppy sand to soak
in tide pools of lost momentum,
a blazing globe poised to roll
with all living motion from
this coastal arc of turbulence,
the black crags blanketed
in chaos of bladderwrack, the homes
on the headland like exposed bone,
reaching as far as you can alone.

Matthew James Babcock teaches writing and literature at BYU-Idaho in Rexburg. He has authored two poetry collections, Points of Reference (Folded Word) and Strange Terrain (Mad Hat); one essay collection, Heterodoxologies (Educe Press); a critical study, Private Fire: Robert Francis’s Ecopoetry and Prose (U. of Delaware Press); and two forthcoming fiction titles, Future Perfect (Ferry Street) and Four Tales of Troubled Love (Harvard Square Editions).

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