Don't Forgive the Dam

by Alice B. Fogel Issue: Fall 2018 Special Issue on Justice
To hold still in the current
is not enough is only to
accept the effort of suspension
a salmon treading water
in the moving stream

Nor should the river or the fish
love the dam and why would
the water-buried village forget
the once open doorways of churches
their stained glass windows gone
dark pressed upon by deeper dark

Under the town clock’s long hands
turning like milfoil weed
the drowned streets of the heart
invite no one to meet and kiss
No you don’t forgive the dam

But neither do you blame the lake
that grew against it
that shoulders its given
load and holds up the injured
children who come to float on it
innocent above flooded farms

At water’s edge the exposed rocks
stay warm to the touch
of the sun long after nightfall

Alice B. Fogel

Alice B. Fogel is the NH poet laureate. Her latest book is A Doubtful House (2017). Interval: Poems Based on Bach’s “Goldberg Variations” (2015) won the Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature and the 2016 NH Literary Award in Poetry. Her third book, Be That Empty, was a national poetry bestseller. She is also the author of Strange Terrain, on how to appreciate poetry without necessarily “getting” it. Nominated for the Pushcart ten times and Best of the Web, Alice has been awarded a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and her poems have appeared in many journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry, Spillway, Hotel Amerika, The Inflectionist, and DIAGRAM. She works one-on-one with students with learning differences at Landmark College, in Putney, VT, and hikes mountains whenever possible.