Israel Wasserstein

At the Bend in Cow Creek


Leaves slide across the dark surface,

brown water divides  prairie.

This far out, no human sounds—

only wind through trees, a woodpecker downstream.


You leap, as always, headfirst. Below, discarded

trash, rusted beyond recognition, catches

the top of your head. Weeks later, you’ll

regain some movement in your fingers.


We draw you out, wait for civilization

to claim you, paramedics travelling fifteen miles

from Hutchinson. Long enough to know:

we drag our world with us, even to the depths.

Israel Wasserstein, a Lecturer in English at Washburn University, was born and raised on the Great Plains. His first poetry collection, This Ecstasy They Call Damnation, is a 2013 Kansas Notable Book. His poetry and prose have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Blue Mesa Review, Flint Hills Review, and elsewhere.



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