Poetry by Timothy Kercher

Again, the Sound of Grief

I hold a fishing pole
abstractly, a fisherman who
never catches a fish, that trawls
for a reflection in the cursive contours
of water that follow each other
like lines in a poem. I am
fishing for my mother’s voice
in a river, and the further
I step into it, I am less myself
and more Heraclitus. I know
every river cradles an ocean
of grief, the power
of poetry I never understood
before her death, the sound
of water a precise articulation
of loss, the slight burble-
slosh-swish-shower- 
slap of waves, music
the dead play, notes
earmarked only for us
who remain, played
like a siren song that gives
hope like a nibble
on a line, played only to remind
how vacant
our fish-pail hearts.


Timothy Kercher lived abroad from 2006 to 2012—four years in the country of Georgia and two in Ukraine—and has now moved back to his home in Dolores, Colorado. He continues to translate contemporary poetry from the Republic of Georgia. He is a high school English teacher and has worked in five countries—Mongolia, Mexico, and Bosnia being the others. His essays, poems, and translations have appeared a number of recent literary publications, including Music & Literature, Crazyhorse, Versal, Plume, upstreet, and others.