poMotion poetry

What It Was

with 8 comments

It was desire that brought her
to the river
the first time-
tired of her first floor
fishbowl apartment.
As she stood there watching beaver
layering debris to build his home,
eagle skimming rivers edge,
she knew
she could call this place
Home.

It was necessity that brought her
to bathe those months in the icy, glacial flow-
freezing the dirt from her skin-
thick with woodchips
and sweat
and scars from the hearth stones.

It was strength that gave her
the seven hundred eighty-four steps
from the river to her tent-
a five-gallon pail grasped in each hand.
Gravity and symmetry
pulled her closer to the earth.
Her mind focused
to keep the precious drops from
spilling over.

It was a deep sadness that called her
that day to carry the
tattered memories of two years:
sprouted lentil seeds and guitar picks-
dropping, then sliding into the water.
She stood on the bank and waited for the
river current to pull those memories
the eight miles out to sea.

It was outrage that brought her
to watch as cranes and dump trucks
pushed the
sand,
willows,
lupine,
red alder saplings,
silt and river rock

in on themselves,

in on the changing bank.
The cranes moved the river
first closer, then away.

It was fear that took her
to watch the rising river each hour that night.
To watch the driving rain.
To watch the river growing to encapsulate
the bank that had held it in for many years.
Two hundred foot spruce trees whizzed past her
like toothpicks- logs screaming past her on the highway.
Her truck parked at the top of the hill-
A last ditch escape.

It was faith that brought her
to lay her naked body
across the river stones.
Her ankles locked in the root of a fallen tree-
her body taught, then loosening-
rippling

above the glacial water
below the summer heat.

Lying there,
she came to realize how
the river would meter her life.
each ripple,
every meander,
the gravelly silt,
crisp green liquid
translucent and frigid
moving through a land that could never
hold her in.

Posted and read by Sue Zalokar

This poem was originally printed in Tidepools- a literary magazine produced by Peninsula College students. Read about Tidepools 2010.

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Written by lickmypoetry

March 31, 2010 at 8:58 pm

8 Responses

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  1. Well this was just excellent…not much more to say than that!

    slpmartin

    March 31, 2010 at 9:25 pm

    • You are so sweet. Thanks. You inspired me to figure out the audio feed…hearing you read your poems. More to come. It’s National Poetry Month. I’m going to try to write a poem a day…. -Sue

      lickmypoetry

      March 31, 2010 at 9:29 pm

  2. The poem is beautiful, your voice is beautiful. Thank you for being you.

    bironist

    April 2, 2010 at 1:42 pm

  3. […] The poem was one I had written about my life on the Hoh River, What It Was. […]

  4. Wow. This piece illuminated so many aspects of both your experience and your perspective…reading it makes me feel like I know her [you], like I’ve been with you through all the scenes. SOOO GOOD.

    Libby Cope

    May 20, 2010 at 11:13 am

  5. The more I read your poems, the more empowered I feel as a woman. you do have a beautiful voice, let it continue to be heard.

    jeannine

    July 8, 2010 at 4:16 am

  6. Holy sh*t!
    wow, this is a masterpiece…
    so impressive, totally sucked in to this story.

    Evelyn

    January 18, 2011 at 1:53 pm


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