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Poetry: Rio Paz by L. Ward Abel

Rio Paz 

by L. Ward Abel

In the courtyard by the river 
rain drips from awning 
furled like a canopy 
of aluminum and green 
sugar. Lorca’s book of poetry 
sweats letters on a wicker chair. 
He was buried in an unmarked 
grave, they say. 

Would-be hawks and trucks 
compete in town, a smattering 
of flashes and pops—they could be 
an awakening. But thinkers 
get distracted. Questions 
forget. 

A bold day of reflection 
should find a garden, 
all tools replaced with pens. 
But see the scops 
navigate traffic, dumbasses 
self-pointed, 
while the beautiful city 

falls. They give names 
to small streams 
like hurricane names, 
but still the streams 
are small. 

The dying breed—with dying art 
from more than a keyboard, a parcel 
of conflict in and out of meaning 
knotted like fishing nets and word 
fronds and the remains of 
fiddler crabs—should now 
compose. 

Exhume that patch 
you’re standing on— 
otherwise the first casualty 
could be the past 
because just under the peel 
is something gone the way of breath. 

So hide your sentences 
in small corners 
creases, gaps, wicker, 
carefully folded 
considered in a quiet place 
alone, free. Always free. 

We walk on porous 
ground. It holds no water 
but has a current of souls. 
Sometimes when ferries 
are closed upriver, folks get 
stranded on the banks. But 
others transfigure out to sea, 
silent, leaving only 
characters. 

About the author

L. Ward Abel’s work has appeared in Rattle, The Reader, The Istanbul Review, Snow Jewel, The Honest Ulsterman, hundreds of others, and he is the author of two full collections and eleven chapbooks of poetry, including Jonesing For Byzantium (UK Authors Press, 2006),  American Bruise (Parallel Press, 2012),  Little Town gods (Folded Word Press, 2016), A Jerusalem of Ponds (erbacce-Press, 2016), The Rainflock Sings Again (Unsolicited Press, 2019), and his latest full collection, Floodlit (Beakful, 2019).

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Flashes

Created in 2014, Flashes is a privately owned literary website. We publish short stories, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Our goal is to give talented writers a platform to showcase their creativity, with an emphasis on original voice, innovative style and challenging plots.

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