I was tagged in a 5-poems-over-5-days meme on Facebook, so I thought I would reproduce the posts here, complete with the intended line indents and breaks.
On Day #1, I pick “Huang He” from my [forthcoming] collection, AND OTHER RIVERS. Because it's one of the first poems (definitely first five, appropriate in this 5 day challenge) I wrote. I like it for how raw it sounds in my ear.
We learned about the river today.
Huang He, how it carves a long, fluid line
through the earth.
While I waited,
I practised telling you
how the river flowed past its banks
sometimes. Too many times.
How they lined it with stone
after too many got lost. Led away
by the river’s cold hands.
I would tell you how the water
whipped through man-made forts.
How villagers fed it incense, live cattle,
One each year.
Sent out in a raft of silk.
Red-veiled. Dowry slippers
at their feet. I wanted to ask,
So while you bathed,
for you to step out
smelling of something sweet,
a flower I didn’t know the name of.
I sat, listening to the tap run.
The steady tick of
drumming the floor.