Christian Anton Gerard’s tongue is a wetland.
When he moves his lips: Palm Warblers. Thousands.
His is a Venus flytrap trapping itself. It is what it is.
It’s because of the girl from Memphis.
Earlier he considered watching the news to catch up
on world events. He lives in a bubble. A white man
in a world with more white men than nitrogen.
That fact may be erroneous. Christian Anton Gerard
has a love/hate relationship with his own politics.
He’s more like the German government.
When he thinks of Germany, Christian Anton Gerard
thinks of his great-great-great-grandfather who made
shoes for the German king and queen.
Gerard wonders why he’s not named Schumacher.
He wished he were related to Michael Schumacher,
the Formula One racing world everything. But Christian
Anton Gerard is just German. Sort of. German, Norwegian,
and confused. It’s because of the girl in Memphis,
on the delta. She is a wetland. It was on the news.
Wetland preservation is so fashionable these days.
Christian Anton Gerard once stood in a wetland at sunset.
He’s done it more than once. But once
there were the bird shadow shapes dancing per usual,
there were some whitetail milling about with vigil.
There were also the bullfrogs and the crickets.
Sometimes ducks ran on water right into the setting sun.
Once, though, Christian Anton Gerard stood in a wetland
at sunset, a distant coyote made his heart beat different.
Christian Anton Gerard is the author of Wilmot Here, Collect For Stella and Holdfast. He has received Pushcart Prize nominations and Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholarships, as well as scholarships from the Prague Summer Program, an Academy of American Poets Award, and the 2013 Iron Horse Literary Review Discovered Voices Award. Gerard lives in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he is an assistant professor of English, Rhetoric and Writing at the University of Arkansas–Fort Smith. He holds a B.A. from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, an M.F.A. from Old Dominion University and a PhD in English from the University of Tennessee.
“Preservation” was first published in I Live Here (TLR, Fall 2016).