Poet’s Corner Press


Visitation Rights of the Levee Builders

by William Barr

In late April each man and his
oldest son light the levee fires.
The night bridges are floated
from both sides and joined at

the center. Throughout the night,
I hear footraces, cheers, and the
squeak of old nails in old wood. I
smell crayfish, turnip pudding,

cabbage, and I can almost taste
the walnut prawns. No, I speak no
Chinese at all but the laughter of
the young men echoes into my

morning prayer. When the old
man finally speaks even the dogs
are quiet. There is one final
chorus, then their steps, their

soft leaving steps. At dawn the
levee is covered by fog. But I can still
smell their fires. From the lowest
trail, I smile at shells floating on

the water. This morning I tripped
over sections of their bridges
scattered on the levee, scattered
so casually, in the sedge.

Category: Poems


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