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Two Deep Breaths: The Bellwether Review 2

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Continuing our series of poems selected by student editors of PCC’s literary magazines, here’s another post from the 2021 editorial crew of Rock Creek campus’s literary magazine, The Bellwether Review:

Each PCC campus has its own unique literary magazine, and Rock Creek proudly produces The Bellwether Review once a year every Spring term. What was previously called the Rock Creek Review was taken up by Rock Creek’s Editing & Publishing class in 2011. At this time, the students adopted the name Bellwether in honor of Rock Creek’s notable sheep population on our campus farm. A bellwether is a reference to the bell worn by the alpha sheep of a flock, though by today’s understanding, it refers to one who leads the way. Our editorial team embraces this ideal as we publish The Bellwether Review: we want to initiate artistic expression and foster creativity at our campus and beyond.

Ines Rossi Y Costa is a student of Portland Community College. Her poem, “Bonneville Dam,” brings to life the pain of a love lost, but then shows how you can persevere by the freedom provided in its aftermath. With beautiful word choice and athletic metaphors, every reader will feel the emotion interlaced throughout her writing. This is: “Bonneville Dam.”

The Bellwether Review 2021 Editorial Team

Bonneville Dam

By Ines Rossi Y Costa

Across a body of water far wider than the Columbia,
your letter spills equations solving for distance.
Your words engineer power from Oregon
all the way to France. Adam, I will be your bride.
Bonneville: a good city. Promises made in good faith.

Ahead above groundwater, canals irrigated,
we navigate this New Deal downstream.
Two powerhouses, we electrify tides.
Your reactivity leaves me off-balance,
drunken hydraulics wreak havoc
on my ecosystem and soon,
short circuit my allegiance.

You build a lock around me, raise and lower boats,
control the waterway, erode my embankment
and still, I swim against your current to spawn.
Tag me, a mere statistic of depressed populations.
Monumental pressure and obstruction
turn this reservoir to sewage until

The levee breaks and floods our soluble bond.
I dredge a riverbed. Watershed.
A stray sturgeon, I slip through your fingers,
climb the fish ladder upstream.

Alone, I now dive into a clear basin,
follow the tide to my center,
my scales shimmering,

again.