THE WATER CLOCK
by Joseph Zaccardi
On the Li River, fishermen fish from bamboo rafts.
They use trained cormorants to make their catch.
They carry their heavy wickerwork creels
Along the stone cold path to market.
I pull myself across the water on a cable boat:
Mango birds and moss along the limestone hills,
Lotuses rooted in mud bloom above water,
Green orchards of unripened oranges.
I write my poem in the currents and wild grass.
I close my eyes to the blue mountains,
Breathe in the perfumed silk
Drying on the sandbar.
When the cold river freezes over,
Fish nibble at shadows.
The longer I look at the mountain,
The less clear the mountain becomes.
Joseph Zaccardi is a veteran who taught colloquial American
English in Đồng Tháp, Cao Lãnh, Vietnam, from 1979 to 1980.
He is the author of five books of poetry including, most recently,
The Weight of Bodily Touches from Kelsay Books. His poems
have appeared in Cincinnati Review, Poetry East, Atlanta
Review, Rattle, Salamander, and elsewhere. Zaccardi served as
the poet laureate of Marin County, California, from 2013 to 2015.
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 15, Number 2
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