“Confluence of Rivers and Mouths” by Laren McClung

Laren McClung


Today I saw a woman on Spring Street
with two black spaniels. She was crouching
and whispering to them. The dogs
took turns licking the woman on the mouth.
This woman’s mouth was its own world.
There are many worlds. We can enter them.
I read that Frydek-Mistek is a natural gate
into the mountains. One river empties
into the mouth of another. I imagine you
singing your nightingale song back
in D.C. I forget little things. This is a way
of surviving. I make imprints in the snow
in my dreams aggressively, practice
my blues-scales, collapse bridges,
converse with my grandmother, walk
into the water and keep walking.
I don’t know how surviving things can
better me, but I have many secrets.
And secrets, I’m learning, are like sheets,
or a shroud wrapped so tight it seems
impossible to find the opening to get out.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009


Laren McClung: “Lately I’ve been reading the poetry of Anna Akhmatova. She was part of a movement called Acmeism, which formed as a reaction against symbolism. The movement was concerned with poetry that moves through the use of association. Association opens ways between worlds, like the intersection of consciousness and subconsciousness, how one sound or image or thought conjures another entirely unrelated, like montage, like dreaming.”

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