Sunday, April 14, 2013

The river I row

My arms are weary from rowing,

my oars are wooden--carved

and polished by my father's

father, the shellac worn away over years,

my dad's initials, and a heart

followed by B.K. -- whoever might have struck

him the summer he was sixteen

and he took the boat to the river.

She might've been a local, a small waitress

working at the diner, my father sitting at her counter,

eating grilled cheese sandwiches and french fries

smothered with ketchup. I call her 'Brenda King.'

But I know little about my father, even though he talked a lot,

especially when he was drinking.

But there's no truth in bottles.

I've rowed, over the years, across seas of gin,

floated in lagoons of wine,

but this river's clear,

so clear, I can hear

the stones at its bottom

calling their secrets

so I can carry them to the ocean,

where they will be released into something

more vast and powerful than the darkness of the past.

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