Riparian Life

By on May 19, 2019 in Poetry

Geese with goslings in spring, photo by Alyce Wilson

The grass crackled and frozen
looking like sand and salt
in the Egyptian desert,

the source of natron that
preserved the eviscerated
and brain-hollowed bodies

of dead pharaohs, still
draws down a gaggle
of Canada geese who must

remember the site and near
river of life much shorter
than the Nile but sustaining

enough even in the tired
and soiled days of February
for those beaks that peck

and webs that stride upon last
year’s vegetation that will
renew without a weighing

of heart against feather
by Anubis, the jackal-head,
so the big birds

don’t have to worry
their mortal souls.


For thirteen years, John Zedolik taught English and Latin in a private all-girls school, and in 2010 he completed his PhD, in which he focused on the pragmatic comedy of "The Canterbury Tales." He has had many jobs in his life, including archaeological field assistant, obituary writer and television-screen-factory worker. His poems have been published in such journals as Abbey, Aries, The Chaffin Journal, Eye on Life Online Magazine, The Journal (UK), Poets’ Espresso Review, Pulsar Poetry Magazine (UK), Shemom, Straylight Online and in The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Additionally, he has poems forthcoming in Plainsongs, U.S. 1 Worksheets and The Same. In recent years, his production of poetry has increased dramatically, due to the ease of composing upon a smartphone. He hopes this negotiation between technology and poetic inspiration continues to yield work that pleases him—and occasionally the world.