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Molting Pastoral


In the shade of trees, the tears 

were unintended, each prompting 

more to fall. The river raised 

its surface to consume the stones, 


carrying a feather towards a slash 

of sun and past. The barbs drenched, 

the cavity filled but never forced 

to sink, caught in an eddy, surfacing, 


swirling. The green of algae 

and egg-white of foam, the light itself 

refracted like a trout’s back – 

the feather remains. Its eventual 

resting place a bank downstream, 

a bent can, a hook, a wristband 

with waterlogged ink. Remember 


relief with that bracelet’s removal, 

a feeling of freedom, a bus ride 

to wherever, a sandwich, a conversation, 

and the lonely proprietor in a shop 

where shelves of candy sit uneaten. 

Even at the edge, where water laps 


at roots, the air is a mystery of breath 

commingled into a widening cloud, 

the way that cigarette smoke would gather 

near the ceiling of a crowded room and float.

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Chase Ferree (he/him) has zig-zagged around the country between North Carolina and Washington, with extended stays in Missouri and Massachusetts. He’s searching for the perfect glazed cake donut. Find him browsing the poetry section of secondhand bookshops or teaching the youth about figurative language. 

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