To Jennifer, Thinking of Li Po, and: Setting Pins, 1966, and: Even the Ohio Can Change, and: On Missing the First Step on the Moon, and: The Spring in Tevebaugh Hollow, and: Morrison's, 1968
- The Missouri Review
- University of Missouri
- Volume 17, Number 2, 1994
- pp. 88-93
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- Purchase/rental options available:
TO JENNIFER, THINKING OF LI PO / Rick Campbell Now, with you in Seattle, where cloud and mountain rise, inseparable as river and rain, I ask, as Li Po did so many times, when wUl we meet again? Mottled Ught falls green, shadows fill my backyard. Your letter crinkles in humid air as if it came from a time distant as we are in space. In the summer sky the sun runs west, wildflowers dot the roadside. So far. Everything that is this land roUs between us. A thousand exit ramps. The last Ughts of towns that flicker Uke ships at sea. Make your Ufe new. Listen. Li Pb stands, moon rising above Puget Sound, and sings for you now. The headlands run to the sea, humped, in starUght, Uke loaves of bread, Uke whales. The Missouri Review SETTING PINS, 1966 /Rick Campbell Billy and I got a job on the edge of extinction setting pins in an aUey on the second floor over the Ambridge Dodge dealer. We huddled on a ledge and watched the baU roU down the lane, spin backwards and turn into its hook. It seemed to slow just before everything exploded in our faces. AU I could do was tuck my head in my arms, hope I didn't get hit, and then jump out to sort the dead from survivors. Windows behind us gaped ragged black holes from pins that had rocketed into the mUltown night. We set it up again and waited. Cold wind seeped down our backs. In a few weeks our fathers grew tired of driving into the night to get us, tired of our walking dazed through school. They said it was over and brought us home. We could eat supper again in front of the TV. Cronkite had our old job, sorting. Each night, mortars shattered the air. Bombs drifted Uke feathers to the checkered earth below. The Missouri Review · 89 EVEN THE OHIO CAN CHANGE Rick Campbell The river I grew up on was rank with oU. ShoreUne stones gleamed sUck-blue and nothing in the river was worth a slug of scrap metal: Carp and catfish, sick, riddled with chemical blood. My river was for barges, owned by U.S. Steel, Armco, J&L. They pumped it full of slag, dripped and drained oU and gas through a thousand hidden holes. Nothing good could come of it except a Uving and Ufe, a whole vaUej^s clinging dream. The Indians who named it beautiful river weren't wrong; how could they know what would come, dark and sooty, burning the sky, turning the earth to mud and cinder. Even in our terrible need we couldn't kill it and the river is coming back to river once again. In the cold ruin of the Ohio's banks muskies swim the secret paths below. We grow older, the river younger, and great fish smash into the air to swaUow a caterpUlar fallen from a wiUow branch. 90 · The Missouri Review ON MISSING THE FIRST STEP ON THE MOON / Rick Campbell That summer I paid no attention to anything but one girl and the harmonica I tried to play, accompanying myself kicking cinders along the black tar road. A whole day would pass as I hitched north through Mennonite cornfields and white farmhouses. My destination was Pymatuning, a reservoir over dead farms whose fences and barns fossü the lake bottom and the gray bleached trunks of sycamore and maple pUe along the shore Uke bones. I knew they were going. I was no dullard cut off for years from the space race and the great sputnik fear. But when ApoUo rose and circled the white moon, I sat under a tree by a pump and watched geese graze at the lake's edge. I waited for my girlfriend to sneak from her house and join the whirUng earth Td found. That moonnight before the walk we were in the cornfield stealing baby ears and I swear I saw a shadow cut across the white face as it hung over the road to town. Days later my father asked if Td seen them walk on the moon and I acted as if I...