Adam Pollak



For the stream full of rain, the creek, the canal, the pond, the river;

For the Great blue heron; the perfect ease of the wings spread just above
     the water
and the veined paths in the canal-scum its wading left behind;
And the water grass combed down by the canal current; and the fish—
     the little fish—living
their little fish lives in the canal;

And the owl hooting in the glen: thank you.

Thank you for the insects who feed the bird’s songs and whose own shrill

     songs—rising falling rising again—keep time in the summer 

     and sometimes sound like the birds do;

Thank you for the woodpecker’s surprising percussion, reverberating like a

     doorstop spring through the trees;

And the still pond, broken only by peeking turtles and flitting water-skimmers;

Thank you for the half-exposed rocks and roots stitched across the dirt path; and

     the crossing of two paths in the wood; and the impenetrability of the

     underbrush I will not enter;

Thank you for the little pebbles I find wedged in the soles of my shoes,

     days later.

And the gossamer strands of spider webs that catch unexpectedly on my arms

     and face, letting me know I am first this morning;

And the ground littered with fallen trees;

And the squirrels chirping; and the careful line of deer grazing;

And the wet smell of rotting logs feeding the dirt;

And the single leaf (harbinger of fall) cascading through air to the ground;

Thank you for the thickets of tall reeds and marshmallow-topped cattails where

     the tadpoles grow; and the muddy canal bottom made from dead plants and   

     dead things

Thank you for the overhanging branches;

And thank you for the blue-skinned potato-fruit that became too heavy for their 

     stems, detached and fell to the path, for me to find.

Vietnam Night Train


I remember the station

its plastic bucket seats

bolted in rows filling

with other people

lugging luggage

while the hands on the clock

moved past our time

of departure and still

no train and yet

grinning dry swallowing

the Xanax Nick gave me.

The rush of feet

and voices made it clear

it was time to act.

Two thin bunks hung

on each wood paneled wall—

the surprise of beds

made tight with wool blankets

for us. And falling fully clothed

onto my bottom bunk in the dark

berth and grinning again because

the train was moving now

and laughing aloud with Nick

and Justin and I can’t remember

the fourth guy but

a knock on the door

and that girl Emma appeared

insisting we keep it down cause

we can hear everything

you’re saying which

made me laugh louder.

Adam Pollak is an MFA candidate and College Writing Instructor at American University. His poems have most recently appeared in Little Patuxent Review, The Allegheny Review, and Prairie Margins. He lives—quite happily—outside of Washington, D.C. with his wife and puppy.



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