Barely Gone

by Bertha Rogers

They are always here, they are always dead,
they are always traveling through our heads—
those who left early, the ones who crashed and
died, the drinkers, the dopers, suicides.
They gyrate our cycloidal streets, wearing
nothing but hurricane wraps and whirlwind
sleeves—so handsome, so pretty, so perfect—
ready for wrecks, drownings, and slashings!

We are always watching, nearly catching
them from the curved corners of our eyes—there,
sudden as a sunset, expiring like flies.
We scrutinize their unbodied traces—barely
out of range yet so diminished we can’t quite
seize their brief gleam, fluorescent strangeness.

bertha2Bertha Rogers’s poems have been published in literary magazines and journals. Her most recent poetry collection, Heart Turned Back, was published by Salmon Poetry, Ireland. Her translation of the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf was published in 2000; and her translation of the Anglo-Saxon Riddle-Poems is forthcoming. She founded and directs Bright Hill Press & Literary Center in NY’s Catskill Mountain Region.

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