refused to accept
a hilly peninsula less than
one thousand acres wide.
They flattened hills
with pick and shovel,
carted gravel by horse and train,
spent their sweat and dollars
changing the landscape
until a man could stand
in the same place
he once would have drowned.
Two Cities is expanding our delivery methods! We asked Gerald Yelle to be our first poet to record himself reading his poem “Let This One Be”. We love hearing the pieces we publish in the author’s own voice and hope you’ll enjoy it too. The text of the poem is below the audio file and can also be found in the March issue of Two Cities Review.
Let This One Be
I stalk him after lunch hoping to catch him
standing straight and tall –but he sees
me first and flaps off between trees.
He occupies the margins, foraging in runoff
flying under the radar out of the swale,
dropping long looping turds on the runway
he shares with C5A transports. Though he’s okay
with that and emery boards and other
such trash, he shuns humans –wisely.
The owner of a nearby fishery protected
his investment bow-hunting waders
till the cops caught him. Say the better part of valor
is an absentee ballot, an emergency flight plan
stabilizing industry, leaving as much
water as will hold one human, one heron
one gangly blue that pumps his neck
as if human were horseman and bird Ichabod Crane.
A sunning snake sidles off the path.
A woodchuck emerges from its burrow.
Back at the office Roz freshens her coffee.
Ruth reads about longevity and takes
virtual walks where birches shade hollows
full of foxglove she can seek and
never find. Children grow, prostaglandins
dwindle. The flea on my sleeve steers
for the light and is lost in fluorescents
above cubicles. The heron eludes me,
his heart likely set, his life here untenable,
like mine, though I’m not yet ready
to leave, on the wet Arcadian wild.