ria

she knows about near drowning
that boy in the pool
is her brother

she fishes for lefthanded
compliments with a seine net
made of prairie grass

and urban river sweat

back to the boy
her sisters rescue

they grip his chubby little ankles
shake him upside down
water and leaves spilling from his mouth

frozen in place
she watches from an upstairs window
as the sisters save the brother’s life

months later tests show
no evidence of dry drowning
damage to the brain

the story begins
as a bond between siblings
becomes one between mother and son

she is the most reliable narrator
she can be at age 10

back to standing perfectly still

in lefthanded river muck
with the sun capturing
a startling silver shimmer in her hair

back to loving to swim
in oceans best

Sibyl Is Alive and Unwell by All This

Frenzied, under the influence
of one oddly calm chthonic deity,

I follow some secret motet
to its chromatic source.

I see vapor failures
in this cliff that bluffs

safety on a questionable plateau.
The sickly sweet smell of snake

head rot won’t lure
the Round Island burrowing boa

out of extinction. And Sudan’s death
leaves Najin and Fatu

to graze in their shrunken crash, awaiting
in vitro fertilization.

African elephants are next—
I sing of drowning and dying of thirst.