Twenty-Seven

New poem today in Shark Reef!

These are the fine folks who last year published my essay Coast Starlight on the Home Meridian (which is really sort of an essay/poem hybrid), and then kindly nominated it for a Pushcart Prize.

Shark Reef is headquartered in the San Juan Islands, one of my favorite places on the planet. It’s named for a particular spot on Lopez, the land portion of which includes a precipitous —yet somehow cozy—rock shelf at island’s edge. You can walk to this place, and if you find yourself in this little corner of the world, with plenty of time and a quiet heart, you should.

TwentySeven has nothing at all to do with that place; it was composed on the banks of the river I always refer to as “mine,” which flows through madrone and redwood forests rather south of Lopez Island.

I wrote it after a long morning of the kind of contemplation that feels like it approaches some sort of truth. Unusual, for me. Though I keep trying to stay open for the opportunities.

The epigraph is from Mary Oliver, which on the one hand seemed a little too much—doesn’t everyone quote Oliver? Am I committing a minor crime of cliché? On the other hand, she was great poet, so there. Also, these particular lines were either the seed from which my own poem grew, or the words that came to mind as I read the first draft over—I don’t recall which. So thanks, Mary.

After Twenty-Seven, go read this poem, which is also about a quiet river moment, but my goodness is it a different take.

Young Light, Ancient Growth. Copyright Tara K. Shepersky, 2019.

3 thoughts on “Twenty-Seven

  1. I love the poem – “Looking for myself again/and also trying to lose her” is such a particular feeling that I understood it instantly.

    (Also, when I saw the Oliver epigraph my first thought was “my parents used to tell me that” and I am pretty sure they weren’t quoting any poetry. More like trying to quell the nervous energy of an impatient child.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wonder if Oliver was writing it the way you describe your parents saying it: a calming admonition. To herself, in this case. Which I imagine because I say that kind of thing to myself all the time, and sometimes it gets into my poetry.

      Liked by 1 person

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