2020 Open Call , Poems - Victoria Crawford and Joel Rombouts



Captive River

By Victoria Crawford and Joel Rombouts

Water backed up the flooded Carmel
lapping at neighborhood porches
the night they tore the sandbar down.


Packed sand dunes bound her
a door held fast with earthen arms
chaining her to stream-bed
where she was dammed from release.


Torrentia river gagged and muzzled
climbed banks to homes and fields
and we watched through days
of spring rain that choked her.


How much would, could she rise
rumors and speculations floated too—
she could run free as she used to
straight into the Pacific storms.


On the third night of drenching downpour,
shovels came to hand
as Carmel’s neighbors dug her free
to flowing riot.


Three days later,
bulldozers came, thrifty misers,
piling sand coins into the bank,
to dam the Carmel once more.


Notes On Becoming A Fish Again At A Suburban Pool

Giant Etruscan jar dredged from the sea
smooth glazed stands on the starting block
bellow lungs legs morph into frog flippers
slimy seaweed barnacles
small crabs hooked onto chest hairs
goggle fisheye lenses grow out of a face
gills in neck opening closing
faces me barracuda mouth razor teeth
voice deep gurgling dangerous whirlpool
“I’m from the Egyptian Red Sea
a free diver from the greatest diving holes in the world”
Turns lips slide back over teeth
seal flippers flex
slipstreams underwater
chameleons into blue tiles
a strand of seaweed
flotsam on the chlorine smell.




Joel Rombouts is a writer from Australia and Victoria Crawford is a poet from California. Meeting in a poetry group, they like to choose a theme and both write about it. This theme is 'water' as the rainy season begins.


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