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The Understory

From: The Missouri Review
Volume 36, Number 4, 2013
p. 102 | 10.1353/mis.2013.0100

In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

The sycamore doesn’t lean riverward.
It leans toward the light over the river,
Shading an understory beneath its green,
Daunting the aster, guarding the fern,
Cooling the water alongside, waters
One week raucous with parking-lot runoff,
The next nearly stagnant. Slow or quick,
The current undercuts the sycamore’s bank,
Leaves gravel trapped around its roots.

And the sycamore leans further, tipped
Like an open drawbridge. Already

It’s picked up the river’s accent,
That slurred drawl, those schwa-flat vowels.
It’s falling into the rhythm, accepting
The ethic of onwardness. Only we will miss
The leaning tree when it finally falls.
Its birds will choose another to light on,
Deer will take its downed leaves,
Asters will star in the light of its absence.
Though ferns will parch, fish will profit.

And the river will flow under,
Over, forward, around its trunk, almost as before.

Jennifer Atkinson  

Jennifer Atkinson is the author of four collections of poetry. The most recent, Canticle of the Night Path, won Free Verse’s New Measure Prize in 2012. Poems have appeared in journals including Field, Image, Witness, New American Writing, Poecology, Terrain and Cincinnati Review. She teaches in the MFA and BFA programs at George Mason University.

Copyright © 2013 The Curators of the University of Missouri
Project MUSE® - View Citation
Jennifer Atkinson. "At the Chernobyl Power Plant Eco-reserve, and: Landscape with Translucent Moon, and: The Understory, and: Landscape with Peregrine Falcon and Hart Crane, and: Refingering the Chords for “Blackberry Blossom”." The Missouri Review 36.4 (2013): 99-105. Project MUSE. Web. 22 Jul. 2014. <http://muse.jhu.edu/>.
Atkinson, J.(2013). At the Chernobyl Power Plant Eco-reserve, and: Landscape with Translucent Moon, and: The Understory, and: Landscape with Peregrine Falcon and Hart Crane, and: Refingering the Chords for “Blackberry Blossom”. The Missouri Review 36(4), 99-105. University of Missouri. Retrieved July 22, 2014, from Project MUSE database.
Jennifer Atkinson. "At the Chernobyl Power Plant Eco-reserve, and: Landscape with Translucent Moon, and: The Understory, and: Landscape with Peregrine Falcon and Hart Crane, and: Refingering the Chords for “Blackberry Blossom”." The Missouri Review 36, no. 4 (2013): 99-105. http://muse.jhu.edu/ (accessed July 22, 2014).
TY - JOUR
T1 - At the Chernobyl Power Plant Eco-reserve, and: Landscape with Translucent Moon, and: The Understory, and: Landscape with Peregrine Falcon and Hart Crane, and: Refingering the Chords for “Blackberry Blossom”
A1 - Atkinson, Jennifer
JF - The Missouri Review
VL - 36
IS - 4
SP - 99
EP - 105
PY - 2013
PB - University of Missouri
SN - 1548-9930
UR - http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/missouri_review/v036/36.4.atkinson.html
N1 - Volume 36, Number 4, 2013
ER -

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