Unfinished Landscape with River
Jeffrey C. Alfier

Rain that afternoon glassed the road
which twisted toward the coastal
headlands that flexed along the faint seam
of sea and sky. Arctic terns, strung across
the wind, screeched everything they knew.
There was an appointment you had to keep
at Blackwater Stables, to buy a mare
you were told was sure of mettle and limb.
She was a gift for your daughter Catriona,
who, in her youth, read from the backseat
the names of rivers: Corrib, Slaney, the far
Liffey. And your own Finnihy, a dark
tumult you’d passed earlier that day.
Making your way home to Kenmare
to give her the news of your purchase,
you watch the pasture she’ll ride the mare
across, see her future in that wide limbo
of grass, where years from now there will still
be cricketsong, a rebirth of ryegrass
and wildflower; the rare laboring wings
of egrets, or just wind rising against the river.

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