The Last Day of January by Paul Ilechko

The Last Day of January
Ice is floating on the surface of the river     the water
appears to be motionless     looking like the skin
of ice is locking it into place     triangles of slush slowly
form in front of the great stone footings that anchor
the bridge     it’s as if the river is quietly creating
its own glaciers     and all we have to do is watch
downstream     there are rapids     it won’t be
long now until the shad are fighting their way
upriver     some of them will travel over three hundred
miles     some of them will be tangled in the great
sweeping nets where the Lewis Island fishermen
trawl the river bottom     just above the bridge
for almost two years now we have been frozen
in place      we no longer seem able to create new
memories     most of us will reappear on the other
side of this endless winter that we are traveling through
many of us will not     caught in the nets that were
randomly cast     fins thrashing     gills bursting for air.
Poet and songwriter Paul Ilechko lives with his partner in Lambertville, NJ. He is the author of several chapbooks. His work has appeared in a variety of journals, including The Night Heron Barks, Feral Journal, Iron Horse Literary Review, Gargoyle Magazine, and Book of Matches. His first album, “Meeting Points”, was released in 2021.

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