Rod Jellema



Birds obeying migration maps etched in their brains
never revise their interstate routes.
Some of them still stop off in Washington, DC.

As the lights of the Pentagon probe this autumn dusk,
a peaceful V-sign of Canada geese lower their landing gear,
slip on the oily Potomac, break rank and huddle

among the power boats. Wings of jets beat the air, taking turns
for the landing—pterodactyls circling the filled-in swamps
under National Airport. There is a great wild honking

of traffic on the bridges—
the daily homing of migrants with headlights dimmed
who loop and bank by instinct along the broken white lines.

Rod Jellema is Professor Emeritus at the University of Maryland, where he directed the Creative Writing Program. The author of two books of poems in translation and of four books of poetry, his latest book, A Slender Grace, won the Towson Prize in Literature for 2004. He is currently Poet-in-Residence at Wesley Theological Seminary.


Published in Volume 7, Number 3, Summer 2006.


To read more by this author:
Rod Jellema
Jellema's Tribute to Ezra Pound: The Memorial Issue
Rod Jellema: Audio Issue