By on Aug 11, 2019 in Poetry

“View of the Susquehanna,” watercolor by Vivian Starr


The kayak eases in—
its green plastic sides scrape rock
as the rower digs
her oar through mud—and sunrise-
pink waves embrace the vessel.

A lonely train howls
its morning echo, crossing
the old Rockville Bridge
where the golden plovers catch
insects drawn to mossy walls.

An old man watches
the fishers work from his porch,
watches the train creep,
watches the kayaker rest,
adjusts his cap to the sun.


Bass kiss the surface,
gulp E. coli microbes.
They process the toxin
throughout their cold bloodstreams
as they wriggle off to hunt.

Motor boats leave shore
laden with coolers of bait
bought from gas stations.
Their rods are cast, aimed at pools
where old tyres—and the bass—wait.

Children wade knee deep
in the waves, scooping pebbles,
rough beach glass, and roots
of water lilies. Or swim
crawls above the undertow.


Christine Kelley is a recent graduate of the poetry M.A. program at Queen's University in Belfast and has also studied for an M.A. in literature at Villanova University. At the moment, she's working and living in Dublin, IE with her husband. She's been previously published in Automatic Pilot and Banshee. Her hometown will always be Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.