Caught by the River


Will Burns | 24th March 2015

A poem by Will Burns

A morning’s brown pelicans
regular as the man hawking
fruit and veg out the back
of his old flat-bed truck
up and down the only road
in town. It is the highway
only turned small into dirt track.

These birds die from hunger—
diving into salt water
for a decade or more
turning them prematurely blind.

Countless flies making home
and food in the sargassus
washed up overnight along with scrap
metal, plastic bottles, car parts,
white goods, armaments.
From five hundred miles away.

Swimming out won’t help.
This patch of ocean is entirely lost to rust
and the seabirds
now, migratory, magnificent, are all born

Will Burns on Caught by the River