Jan/Feb 2019 Poetry

What Any River Would Do

by Kami Westhoff

Image salvaged from public domain

What Any River Would Do

I wonder if the river was a relief.
If from its bed you watched the shivering
November sky, squinting for the face
of your mother, who feared your solo
runs, your little brother, the German
Shepherd you thought would protect you.

Maybe the river's current coerced the
hot throb of his breath from your ear,
unraveled his words into water, the river
bed rocks erased the scour of his knife
with their own prehistoric scribbling.

Maybe this is what any river would do
for any girl, body pressed against
its silty spine, her faultline fingernails,
thundercloud throat. It's not enough,
but what it had to offer until you were
ghosted in a ribcage of rotten branches.

I wonder if you embraced the sinking,
the scrape of stubborn, basaltic rocks,
shocking gust of an ancient glacier.

If the current wove you into the fabric
of its force, each of your curves carving
a new course. The river didn't birth you,
but it welcomed you into your eternity
as you settled into the snare of last sights.


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