“Storytelling” by C. Wade Bentley

C. Wade Bentley


The morning they saw the body in the river
on the way to school was also the day Jessica
said how she’d known all along that Seth
was gay and she was perfectly fine with it
and Kaylie said well me too but if you knew
why didn’t you say something before we went out
for two months but just before Jessica could answer
was when Jared said what the hell? and pointed
down along the banks of the river where half hidden
in the grass was what they would soon know was the naked
body of a young woman maybe a few years older
than they were and where for a still and silent minute
they just looked at the way her hair had woven
itself into the weeds the way her head would nudge
gently against the shore and then retreat
how the little ripples in this quiet section of water
would splash onto her right hip all purple and grey
shiny and taut with a look on her face
and her wide eyes that said nothing at all
that said I have no opinion I will have nothing to say
on that matter and it’s no use waiting for it you will
tell the police your story now and play it up big
for your mates at school later but you won’t hear it
from me that story that love story that fantasy
I had hoped to tell had begun to tell has now moved
to mid-stream and will be out to sea sooner or later
where old couples who are even now walking
along the shore will pause from time to time
their faces into the wind, listening.

from Rattle #40, Summer 2013

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C. Wade Bentley: “There are three things I can count on to make me happy: playing with my grandsons, hiking in the mountains, and writing poetry. Even when the end result of my poetic effort is crap—as it often is—I am never quite so happy as when lost and wallowing in the mud of a possible poem, trying to write my way out. And when the alchemy actually works, that’s a bonus. That’s magic.” (website)

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