“River” by Nic Alea

Nic Alea


I think I am the river, no.
I think I am the alphabet, no.
I think I am in the back of
the car slamming my head against
the seat, I think I am screaming, no,
careless, maybe, I think I am too fast
over this canyon, I think my tape player
is stuck singing about the rain or
a field or no, this is a canyon and canyons
have the once upon a time river stuck to
the bottom, I’m going to hit the bottom
and it’s going to burn like the summer
and we feel good peeling the dead skin
off our shoulders and I press my thumb
into your chest to watch my imprint glow
against you, I think you forgot about me,
maybe we kissed goodbye on your bed with
the windows open and the orange house across
the street steamed like a fat sun and I fell all over
the wood floor, the dashboard smashing at the base of the canyon,
I’m a melted crayon, no, I’m a dried up riverbed, no,
you are kissing my mouth, no, neck, the canyon is opening
and a thousand moths fly up to the road,
I think my car is charred,
I am an empty gas tank,
when you kiss me,
I spit lonely into your mouth,
that’s the worst part.

from Rattle #44, Summer 2014


Nic Alea: “The day after the fire I climbed down the cliff and felt the ash in my palms, felt wilted and dry. Started to use the burns to write poems, write poems to calm the flames.” (web)

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