Home to Her Island

Beaver’s Pick
Rich Ives

Cottonwood in the Fog
Photo Credit: John Van Atta

A woman who has been living in the cottonwood tree takes the shoe from her green window and brushes away empty cocoons and spider webs. It’s been a long time and she doesn’t know if she broke in or out. The limp no longer reminds her of anything.

Listen to the wreck feeding in the dark. You might like to think it’s only an old Edsel with a few stray heads of wheat climbing through the broken window, but it’s too late to vote against symbolism. Some things that seem accidental were just waiting but not these. All red stones must now prove their innocence.

When you have only the sky to look up to, it’s easy to feel small. It’s too easy to look at things the way something else sees them.

Ghostly widows of fog rise early from the cornrows, their pale blue tracks softening and sliding up and away, evaporating into the brightening horizon.

“The best embrace loss; the worst worship it.” That’s what the remaining landscape has been teaching so much longer than we can know.


Changed, utterly changed. As it would be even if no one had noticed. As it might appear to a traveler sitting in a chair, floating his thoughts on inkskin. It might bring you back on the eve of your salvation to that which you had spent your life escaping. What we’re going to learn from this is more than it could be because we’re more than is possible. We’re beyond ourselves.


Knock, knock.

I’m still my home.

Come back later when later is now. I’ll be there in my river, traveling isolated, traveling tall and green.


Rich Ives has received grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Artist Trust, Seattle Arts Commission and the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines for his work in poetry, fiction, editing, publishing, translation and photography. His writing has appeared in Verse, North American Review, Massachusetts Review, Northwest Review, Quarterly West, Iowa Review, Poetry Northwest, Virginia Quarterly Review, Fiction Daily and many more. He is the 2009 winner of the Francis Locke Memorial Poetry Award from Bitter Oleander. His story collection, The Balloon Containing the Water Containing the Narrative Begins Leaking, was one of five finalists for the 2009 Starcherone Innovative Fiction Prize. In 2010 he has been a finalist in fiction at Black Warrior Review and Mississippi Review and in poetry at Cloudbank and Mississippi Review. In 2011 he is again a finalist in poetry at Mississippi Review. The Spring 2011 Bitter Oleander contains a feature including an interview and 18 of his hybrid works. Email: ivesrich[at]yahoo.com

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