Illustration by Matthew Rucker

St Petersburg [Florida] with Mandelstam by Virginia Barrett

Illustration by Matthew Rucker
Illustration by Matthew Rucker


over the water a shadow
makes the fish hide; how low

can the pelican glide to keep
them awake forever?


a heron hunts as the full
moon steps through

the mute bayou. The people
need poetry that will be their own



above palm fronds a bird
conspires balanced

on a wire.

About the Author

Virginia Barrett

“An intersection through time between where I was at the moment [Florida] and the poet I was reading.”

Virginia Barrett is teaching-artist in San Francisco city schools. Her work has most recently appeared in Poetry of Resistance: A Multicultural Anthology in Response to Arizona SB 1070 (University of Arizona Press), Belle Reve, and Apple Valley Review. She is the editor of two anthologies of contemporary San Francisco poets, Feather Floating on the Water—poems for our children (winner of an Acker Award for the avant-garde) and OCCUPY SF—poems from the movement.

About the Illustrator

You can follow Matthew’s amazing art on Instagram.

St Petersburg [Florida] with Mandelstam is one of the many amazing poems from the upcoming fourth edition of the literary collection The Machinery.

Feel free to share the poem on Social Media or let us know what you think about it in the comments below!

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