a poem a day for a year #200

by Amy Turn Sharp


Don’t swim in the Mississippi River till you can spell it. I know this girl, you can usually find her by some river. She’s drawn to the river. I am sure she would walk on down to the Nile if she could, sun herself on ancient banks. She loves the people who live in the towns that sit there and suck the water. The towns that power up and glow from the watercourse flow.  But rivers swallow up people and I am afraid. There are stories of people who fall in. There are sinking secrets and flowing lies.
Have you ever lived on a river? It moves so fast. I think things must float to the top.
When my grandpa took me out on a boat a thousand years ago, I waited and waited for us to die.
The water was so wide. I waited for our bodies to float on down the Ohio river and into the Mississippi and eventually empty out into the Gulf of Mexico, where I imagined we would rise up as ghosts wearing Hawaiian shirts and reach for drinks with little umbrellas. But I was only twelve, what the hell did I know?