SITTING BY A WATERFALL, I’M REMINDED HOW MUCH MY PRIORITIES HAD SHIFTED
I’ve heard this music before: white water’s roar over dam’s edge, batter of limbs caught between rocks chiseled smaller and smoother each day I’ve been alive, each day after, until they give way and let everything go downstream, carried along with fish, all mouth and rainbow, leaping from now clear water All the water that came with such power and so suddenly I woke to shut tight my sons’ windows, the screen door thwacking its jamb, so we might again disappear night into morning. Water that sewers and riverbanks couldn’t keep from basement or our Desoto Wagon’s floorboards, that swallowed slowly every storefront on Main and we canoed to Kowalski’s Market for loaf of bread, peanut butter, four Cokes to hold fast against all we’d soon lose: Duomatic washer-dryer I’d saved for all year for our anniversary, couch and wooden floors rotted through, everything I’d replace with late night and weekend overtime— It all became such white noise when I found on top bedroom shelf, far in back, all the letters I wrote a continent away, photos and M.’s report cards, R.’s crayoned family portrait where the three of them< smiled under golden sun and crafted a castle of sand while I looked out over ocean waves beating lower and lower on the shore, their music receding as water’s always does. Herco Imperial
Michael Levan’s poems have appeared recently in Indiana Review, Mid-American Review, American Literary Review, Lunch Ticket, Dialogist, and Heron Tree, as well as Cutbank’s 40th anniversary anthology and Southern Poetry Anthology VI: Tennessee. He teaches writing at the University of Saint Francis and lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with his wife, Molly, and son, Atticus.