Almost Savages

The only blue I’ve seen for weeks is this body,

Interesting way to describe the bleakness of winter here, the first line really brings to mind the oppressive grayness of cold, cloudy skies. -Kyle Austin, age 24

the color of my winter sky in plumage, a jay
 
fresh-killed for my assumption of doubt
for spring’s awakening. And it will be
 
months until there is haven again for any of us.
Months until warmth is pliant in lake beds when
 
small fish will scatter away from my steps.
How many moonfish would the river hold
 
if you squeezed the banks together for an instant?

What a wild thought. It brings the poem out of the rational world and into a world where anything is possible. -Patricia Schlutt, age 18

Each April I think of my father’s smelt runs, the inky
 
rimed artesian creek lined shoulder to shoulder three

I like the internal rhyme here between “creek” and “deep” … it gives the poem a nice flowing movement, like the creek she is talking about. -Kara Madden, age 24

men deep pressing with nets and lanterns. Kerosene
 
hung in the piercing air. The rush of silver thicker than
a slot machine’s payment. He’d bring his pails into
 
the kitchen before sunrise, line the table with yesterday’s
paper, hand us each a shining knife, and pour the smelt
 
into a pile, some still alive, their flat eyes breathing.

I love the unconventional image in the line “their flat eyes breathing” as well as the query, “how many moonfish would the river hold/if you squeezed the banks together for an instant. The imagery in the poem catches hold of the readers' memory and makes the narrator's memories appear very real and clear. -Laura Crouch, age 20

It is not a field of poppies, this death. Nor is it the

the I love the honesty of this statement. Even the rhythm is simple and harsh. -Patricia Schlutt, age 18

 
shadow of a black willow, its head downcast unless
the wind builds coming in from the big lake. Steeling
 
from bleakness takes as much as hurtling upstream.
These willow leaves now, damp as nervous fingers
 
splayed across the fractured sidewalk are the jay’s
feathers scattered from the cats’ elation. The headless
 
corpse, wanton by the cellar door, their usual modus operandi.
First blood at the throat, then sliced clean up the belly.

The enjambment throughout this poem gives it a wonderfully calming flow. It makes the reader really concentrate on each couplet, without losing those images when they move onto the next. -Sarah Branz, age 21
This is a very cohesive poem. Everything in it, from the title to the images to the diction, works together to probe the more savage aspects of life and the world. -Kyle Austin, age 24
Through the 3rd Eye was supported in its inception by the Grand Rapids Humanities Council and is currently made possible by continued volunteer effort and private support. Copyright 2013.