Maya Clubine | Vallum Chapbook Award FINALIST

River Bug on the Black Sea

from Life Cycle of a Mayfly by Maya Clubine, a finalist in the Vallum Chapbook Award contest for 2023

The sun sinks down toward the thin horizon.
The weary peacock falls asleep inside
its crowned flask. The Philosopher sits on
a rock and jots a few brief observations
about a river bug above the Black Sea.
The river bug flies, then dies on the rock.
Earth turns, suspended by a fraying cord,
while the Philosopher walks home. He watches
the sky grow dark each night until he dies.
The Black Sea floods and drowns out local memory.
The shadow of the Earth is cast upon
the moon, and in the morning men are born
to love and leave, to struggle and to raise
up daughters of their own. The flask explodes
in multicoloured chaos. Old stars burn
and crash through younger mountains. Rivers smooth
the jagged years. Philosophy falls out
of fashion. Someone steps out on the moon
and oil rigs are built, wells dug into
the Black Sea’s bed. Our congregations sing
and live and end. They’re built again around
these rivers, and the river bugs are there.

Photo by Bruce Jeffrey

Maya Clubine is a writer and artist from the Canadian East Coast. She is an MFA candidate at the University of St. Thomas (TX) where she received a Scanlan Fellowship. Maya has published in Rattle, The Literary Review of Canada, Modern Age, The South Shore Review, and Ekstasis, among others. She is a member of the Common Milkweed Collective. She can be found at