Why I Can’t Fly to Jamaica in April

by Rod Peckman

Nightly I hear the beavers at work.
There is no use in confrontation
as they always slip away into the moonlight water
polished to a sheen. Black orbs, their heads glide
on the dark skin of this small lake,
beneath the fringe of firs and cottonwoods,
cattails and wild grasses.

The only sign
upon my of my approach to the shore
is the slap of flat tails upon the water.
A taunt, a signal, or true fear,
I have no idea.

As I give up my watch to the night,
I know my morning will be consumed
with clearing their nighttime industry.
Sticks and larger branches, aquatic weeds,
and a soft black mortar of mud.
The occasional beer can on the top
of their nascent dam, as if to say,
you should all be ashamed.

I know it is a pull of instinct
to mute the sound of running water.
That they are here gives me pleasure.
That every morning I’m in my hip waders
and thick rubber gloves
dismantling their reclamation project,
makes me wish they would simply move on,

not too far perhaps, just another neighbor’s stream
if only for one year. Not too far.
Despite the trouble they bring,
I’d miss their sleek dark heads bobbing
in the growing dusk, flowing with purpose,
making plans for this night’s construction
that I have no answer for.

Rod Peckman is fortunate enough to live in a beautiful space. He shares his habitat with raptors, waterfowl, mammals both large and small, and his bête noir, the tenacious beavers who never stop in their quest to inundate his backyard (Actually, though troublesome, he has a grudging respect, bordering on fondness, for those tireless rodents). Rod’s poems have appeared in numerous online and a few print journals. His favorites can be found in Barnwood , Babel Fruit, Juked, Silenced Press, Willows Wept Review, The Tonopah Review, Breadcrumb Scabs, Ghoti, and Paradigm. He’d like to thank his dog Allie for her infinite patience and constant good cheer.

Editor’s note: “Why I Can’t Fly to Jamaica in April” is reprinted here. It first appeared in Clapboard House.

Back to Issue Ten: Winter 2011