What does it mean to be a river?

by Jared Beloff and Laurie Marshall


Jared Beloff is a teacher and poet who lives in Queens, NY with his wife and two daughters. His debut poetry collection, Who Will Cradle Your Head, was recently published by ELJ Press. He is the editor of the Marvel inspired poetry anthology, Marvelous Verses. You can find his work in Contrary Magazine, Barren Magazine, Night Heron Barks, The Shore and elsewhere. He is online at www.jaredbeloff.com.

Laurie Marshall is an award-winning writer and collage artist living in Northwest Arkansas. She’s a reader for Fractured Literary and Longleaf Review with recent work published in Flash Frog, Stanchion, Wrongdoing Magazine, Twin Pies Literary, and Bending Genres, among others. Connect on Twitter @LaurieMMarshall or www.SeeLaurieWrite.com.

Image description: Collage created with a repeated image of a river flowing between wooded banks, with colored filters enhancing the original image, and additional images of a skeletal rib cage and fire layered between the river images.

The poem reads: “What does it mean to be a river? // Heraclitus’ step knew the swept current / swelling like summer rains, its silt stirred / like the mayfly’s glittering flight; / how the mossed stone sits, or the way we / hid in the rushes like grasshoppers / where we watched a fish gasp, its jaw unhinged, / gills red, serrated as the air / cut, its eyes agape; / how a predatory bird flashed the surface / for something to feed on, / each embrace a leaving that tears / open the ribs to where a tide would lie, / a reminder: I am not the river, only its wrack line.”