Your River

Smart speakers offer manual options for volume
for people like you whose giggle, talking ridiculously
to plastic, quickly turns to awe and bossiness.
Hey, Google, play “River” by Leon Bridges.

Hey, Google, 75% volume. Hands free, music makes
a soundtrack for cooking, cutting onions.
Hey, Google, 100% volume. Constant visual overlay
these days. Memory’s relentless mind screens couple

with memories of small screens, fingers scroll songs,
click video versions: a black father’s blood-spattered
white t-shirt, his baby crying, calmed on his chest, tiny
red-wet fingers, Black people in white, standing in water,

not the literal river you misremember: they sing in rain
enhanced by a hose, join the onion on the cutting board.
This isn’t video. Your husband is out buying avocados
and blue chips. The song story thunders through you just

below a rolling memory of the morning he held you up
on your feet, thighs and knees giving out with father grief,
beneath your cry, are you going to leave me, and the song
came on spontaneously, the river song, the song

now always a stream in the dark of your son’s room,
smelling of unwashed clothes and an old dog,
the room, looking into the kitchen, where he, your love,
sat with you on a messy floor-mattress, untangled

antique knots of abandonment, your face a river.
You say you are always waiting for what you deserve,
that being left is what you will get for what you gave
and have been given, your narrative inheritance.

He asks, can’t we rewrite that end? I want to, you say.
Songs shuffle. Onions gleam. The kitchen glows yellow
with the promise of a new mythology, a river flowing
without water, without gravity, without a final sea.

Here’s Leon Bridges’ song, River

3 Responses to “Your River”

  1. Bill Reed says:

    Beautiful! (I used to imagine that I could write poetry and then I see something by a real poet.) <3

  2. wordweed says:

    Ha! Lots o different kinds of poetry and poets. All of it real.

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