The Unseen

by Scott T. Starbuck


Years later, when you return to the fire lookout,

the woodgrain face in the floor speaks.

“It is good to see you again.

I missed you.

I hope you are happy.”


There is a glacial lake in the distance.

Somewhere below, a fascinated child

tracks a fawn and doe.


You stand over a windblown swell of evergreens

remembering meditative days,

breath in, breath out, sun warming your 19-year-old face.


There was a woven friendship bracelet on your ankle

that ended up in compost.

There was anger

and healing.

A photo torn and burned.


All those years there was never any smoke

to warn anybody

but, as a watcher, you understood

what slipped away

in years that followed.

Forget the houses, cars, and women.


Wild birds would continue to visit

but what you had when you closed your eyes


was all you had

or would ever have.






Scott T. Starbuck is a Creative Writing Coordinator at San Diego Mesa College < http://classroom.sdmesa.edu/sstarbuck2/ >. His recent poems are online at Scythe < http://scytheliteraryjournal.yolasite.com/scott-t-starbuck.php >, The Oregonian < http://www.oregonlive.com/books/index.ssf/2010/02/poetry_instant_novel.html >, rfishc.com < http://rfishc.com/rfc_01.asp >, Untitled Country Review < http://untitledcountry.blogspot.com/2011/10/issue-6-scott-t-starbuck.html >, NICHE < http://issuu.com/nichelit/docs/niche_no1?mode=window&pageNumber=25 >, cur*ren*cy < http://www.currencylit.com/scott-t-starbuck > and The Found Poetry Review < http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/ >, and will soon appear online at Atticus Review < http://atticusreview.org/category/poetry/ >, The Canary Literary Journal < http://www.hippocketpress.org/canary/index.php >, Otis Nebula < http://www.otisnebula.com/otisnebula/Home.html >, Carnival < http://www.carnivalitmag.com/ > and Two Thirds North < http://www.twothirdsnorth.com/stockholm-syndromes/ > at Stockholm University in Sweden. His next poetry chapbook, Riverwalker, is forthcoming from Mountains and Rivers Press in Eugene, Oregon.


Art by Judith Shaw