One Poem

Rick Bursky

          —for Yannis Ritsos


If eighty-one years of poems were stuffed in a canvas sack, tied to a statue and thrown into the currents where the ocean spills its grief, nothing would change. Fishermen would still pull the hulls of their boats onto the white sand while seagulls picked at rotting carcasses.


An inconspicuous truth attracts a hazardous audience, a child's magnet next to razor blades on a bathroom sink.


Study the landscape. Heat peels from whitewashed houses on a steep hillside. A crucifix on the copper dome of a church. The burning sun hanging in the sky's throat. The flat darkness spreading through weeds oozing from a dismembered statue. An island's shadow on the Aegean, a place where people are prisoners of one thing or another.

Rick Bursky

Rick Bursky lives in Los Angeles. His book, The Soup of Something Missing, was published by Bear Star Press, and The Invention of Fiction is out from Hollyridge Press. His poems have appeared in many journals including American Poetry Review, Iowa Review, Harvard Review, Prairie Schooner and The Southern Review.