City by the Sea


The readers of old magazines

Can hear themselves breathe


In the cells of Lisbon

Nothing can be trivial.


Large plants grow dark roots

In the gut of the isthmus,


A soft pandemonium

Meant to save us, flowers

Brought to inertia.


In the seizures of the strand

The strollers have nothing

To say or offer to the empty faced


One feels lucky to feel the body

Pulled toward strange languages


The hand shakes

In the midst of constant news,

In thoughts of the journey

Where birds were thrown toward the sea


A city filled with its last customers,

Children without memories.


One of them will scribble

The final sketch—

A picture of the big mouse

In my head


Who has never betrayed me

And whom no one can destroy.


George Eklund has taught at Morehead State University in eastern Kentucky for 25 years. His poems have appeared in ABZ, American Poetry Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Crazyhorse, Epoch, The Iowa Review, The Massachusetts Review, The North American Review, and Willow Springs, among others. His most recent books include Wanting to Be an Element (Finishing Line Press), Each Breath I Cannot Hold (Wind Publications), and The Island Blade (ABZ Press).