Grand Forks: 1997

by Linda Bierds

An arc of pips across a playboard's field
tightens, then, in the Chinese game of Go,
curls back to weave a noose, a circle closing, cdosed.

Surrounded, one surrenders. Blind-sided,
collared from behind. Then silence, or so
my friends revealed, the arc across their patchwork fields

not pips, but flood. The dikes collapsed, they said;
the river, daily, swelled. Then pastures rose,
as earth's dark water table -brimful-spilled, and closed

behind their backs, the chaff-filled water red
with silt, with coulees, creeks, a russet snow,
all merging from behind. Then through the bay-bright fields

a dorsal silence came, and, turning, filled
the sunken streets, the fallen dikes, the slow,
ice-gripped periphery where frozen cattle closed

across their frozen likenesses. Mirrored,
as when the Northern Lights began their glow
was mirrored, green to green, across the flooded fields
like haunted arcs of Spring, one circle closing, closed.

Last updated November 30, 2022