Jenifer Browne Lawrence: “Landscape with No Net Loss”

This week the website features a selection of poems from WA129, an anthology of poems edited by Washington State Poet Laureate Tod Marshall and published by Sage Hill Press. Marshall observes, having spent his tenure as laureate criss-crossing the state, “Simply, we have many people invested in exploring and sharing how language matters. This anthology is, I hope, an embodiment of and contribution to that enthusiasm, engagement, and prolific word-energy. ” We begin our sample of work from WA129 with the following poem by Jenifer Browne Lawrence. 

Landscape with No Net Loss

This is the river’s fingertip, pink bulb-end of a wild onion.
The sun leaps from the water and drops into the forest.
Bits of blown deer lichen float off without license.
I have changed a fuse in the dark. Have shoveled
trenches for cable, pulled the sway-end of a survey chain
until my palms blistered. I flirt with mosquitos in gray light,
wish I still smoked, stub my boot-toes at the marsh edge.
From the estuary, up comes the mist in faltering heat.
Longfin smelt change direction midair, belly-slap
to avoid the chinook or shake loose eggs
or just for the hell of it, who knows, we are all
bouncing off one body and into another.
On the map, or from the treetops, the river mouth
is a hand spread wide to catch everything.

Jenifer Browne Lawrence is the author of Grayling and One Hundred Steps from Shore. Awards include the Perugia Press Prize, the Orlando Poetry Prize, the James Hearst Poetry Prize, the Potomac Review poetry award, and a Washington State Artist Trust GAP grant. Her work has been published in Los Angeles Review, Narrative, North American Review, Rattle, and elsewhere. Jenifer lives in Poulsbo, WA, and edits Crab Creek Review.