by lucien darjeun meadows
Tonight, I follow the song to the river,
Brown water thick with falling brown leaves.
With a breeze, the river vibrates and breaks
Like a great wing, or a door punctuated with light.
Without wind, without you, the river hollows
Like the thigh bone I once saw a wolf suck dry.
I do not believe this thirst will ever be filled.
And still the song, a grackle or a crow—
All songs become eulogies in November.
Somehow I am standing in the water, now,
And leaves clap my legs like cold hands,
Your hands the last time we met, just upstream,
When I reached for your belt, and you
Hit my face, held it, hit it again as you said
I have never, never known you. I fell to my knees.
You left, and I am still falling, here, and if
I fell forward, I would fall through this river,
This song. But the night is too short. It always is.
Lucien Darjeun Meadows is a writer of English, German, and Cherokee descent born and raised in the Appalachian Mountains. An AWP Intro Journals Project winner, he has received fellowships and awards from the Academy of American Poets, American Alliance of Museums, and National Association for Interpretation. His first poetry collection, In the Hands of the River, is forthcoming from Hub City Press in Fall 2022.