Two Poems, I.S. Welsh


CLIFTON, OREGON

What is it, Clifton?

Why’d I come back to be

Near you,

Near the ruins of what was–

The fish heads

The sea lions

The workers

The pines.

Why’d I come back to this place

As if a steamboat had dropped me off

At the wrong dock

And I, travel weary,

Had stepped to shore without question

Except for where

Can I lay down

My things?

What is it, Clifton?

Why’d you have to draw me

Down that road

Off the highway

So I’d lay my eyes

On the water-logged posts

Standing loyally

Stubbornly

In the river

Like a whole slew of hosts

Waiting to welcome me

Back.

Or maybe

Their backs are turned

To me

As they wait for their ships

Arriving from the sea–

Ghost ships.

They wait