Cannon River Meditation — Seth Berg

The river swells,

takes on the color of arsenic

and churning foam.

Near the bank,

there is a raft of ducks

who pay the swell no mind;

they gaze at me as though to say

“you are without bread;

there is piano in your core.”

I remind them that my concern is genuine

and though I have no food for them,

I would bear my arctic torso

were one of their young

swept into the freakish rapids.

I would leap like a maniac,

arms torpedoed, just to wrangle

one of their wayward youngsters…

They gaze, unimpressed;

they tell me that the river is safe,

which is to say

that they are safe,

which is to say

that I am safe…

However, I know something

that they do not:

at the bottom of the river,

above which they float,

there is a car,

in which there is a body,

in which there is no breath.


Seth Berg is a hatchet-wielding wild man who digs tasty hallucinatory literature. His first book, Muted Lines From Someone Else’s Memory was winner of Dark Sky Books 2009 book contest. His second book, The Aviary, co-authored with Bradford K. Wolfenden II, was recently announced as winner of the 2015 Artistically Declined Twin Antlers Contest. Other poems and short fiction can be found in Connecticut Review, 13th Warrior Review, Spittoon Literary Review, BlazeVOX, Heavy Feather Literary Review, and Lake Effect, among others. Most recently, poems were anthologized in GTCPR Volume III and Daddy Cool. Berg is addicted to hot sauce and psychedelia. He lives in Minnesota with his two supernatural children, Oak and Sage, and his magical better half, Kori. He loves your face.