The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Jed Myers

Poem for My Country


Not far from my city, I walked under tall trees

by a river whose name soon escaped me.


Silty-green eddies, white froth dressing

the rocks, flat current over what I thought


must be the depths, a riffle dazzled

the shallows. I lost perspective


to the strobe of the wind-shaken maples’

foliage fringing the shore. Were they swallows


who sped and veered, who caught the living

dust of the hovering bug constellations?


A few splashes some yards upriver,

little eruptions of silver, what might be


a fish, I bent for a better look under

a branch, and saw on the edge up ahead


a kid spin a flat rock to skip, and it did.

What country is this? A moment in wonder,


no answer. The water coursed past

in and out of the bright and the dark, I heard


the elements’ vigorous frictions, dignified

groans of the cedars and firs, and imagined


the current grinding away at the stones.

What country is this? Perhaps it is known


to the singing boughs spread over the banks,

to the stones, or the invisible fish.




JED MYERS lives in Seattle. He is author of Watching the Perseids (Sacramento Poetry Center Book Award), The Marriage of Space and Time (MoonPath Press, forthcoming), and three chapbooks. Recent honors include the Prime Number Magazine Award for Poetry, The Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Prize, The Tishman Review’s Edna St. Vincent Millay Poetry Prize, and the Iron Horse Literary Review Chapbook Award. Recent poems can be found in Rattle, Poetry Northwest, Southern Poetry Review, The Greensboro Review,, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Solstice, Natural Bridge, and elsewhere. He is Poetry Editor for the journal Bracken.


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