RAUCH – a poem by Marc Janssen


In the swirl, intense
Calmness of the Pacific
Is a reflection

You flow like a river, a fire hose, a mouse’s tracks on new snow; of words dancing between mind and hand and pen and paper and eye and mind; of light as it slants through the memories of smoke from mom’s cigarette lazing in a July morning living room; of food and hunger and scent and everything that makes me an animal; of thoughts and emotions and everything that separates me from everyone else.
You are atoms between stars and skin cells; the water blue, the Crater Lake blue, the sky blue, the emotion-filled can’t-find-the-right-pantone blue of the baby’s eye.

In the red embers
The cooling flame’s curling smoke
Is a reflection

You are connected to the locomotive tiptoeing down the center of Front Street in the middle of the night; to the explosions deep inside the sun; electronic messages, emails, texts; to the boy who wants to know how to hold the hand of the girl; to the girl who is a woman who is a mother who is alone who is happy and sad and angry and laughing; to the fingers and the tendons and the muscles and the skin and the nails and the crinkled edges of the baby’s hand as she dozes crumpled on her sleeping dad’s chest.

In the air, this air
This vacuum, town, anywhere
Is a reflection

And you touch the shoulder of the drunk veteran, the inner world of the middle school girl, the guy driving to work with the sun in his eyes, the music major, the protester, the police;
The shoulder of a mountain, of Orion, of imagination, of the sound you make when you smile;
Lightly brushes the hour, hair, heaven, hurt, hate, honor, heritage, the hush.
Looking up, intently, breast to mouth, the baby sees a sky of intimacy and smell and nourishment and familiarity and

In a universe
Of big broken reflections
Flowing is love, love


Marc Janssen is an internationally published poet and poetic activist. His work has appeared haphazardly in printed journals and anthologies such as Off the Coast, Cirque Journal, Penumbra, The Ottawa Arts Review and Manifest West. He also coordinates poetry events in the Willamette Valley of Oregon including the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, and Salem Poetry Festival.

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