where’s the money shot

sunny with a real feel of 5
degrees Fahrenheit

another cruel moment in April
gets trapped under ice

no algae
nothing’s blooming

good or bad
here where the climate trickster

of our own making
never sleeps

Frankenstein’s monster drinks
from the fetid future

has not yet learned
how to lie

he won’t open his eyes underwater
he won’t tell us what he hears

in all that muffled blue
his silence is damaged

if he would declare his damage
it would spill then bleed

into the fibers
of a wrongly-folded map

someone has abandoned
on the frozen ground

remember those

pockets of jamais vu
dot the landscape

with crimson-tinted notes
in the minor key

no one asks to be
the hero image

that spans an iridescent bridge
to nowhere

Will Portage

Untamed or unnamed, the tilt is in
her head—and a lock shuts
down forever to stop

the spread of invasive
species up
river. Forever is

a long time to fight the ambitions
of fish. She’ll find the way
to unburden her own.

Day 4,231

Urban archaeology—river
running—the falls
bring it—the power—Emily
dashes for all—what
would she have mused
about the Mississippi
if she had gotten that far? So far
into this overflow.

Brackish

She threw
nostalgia in—
along with your initials.

“Turn all
post-war, pre-washed, personal works
over for good, or
for as long as it takes
to forget
again.”

Another message
written in poor
handwriting, stuffed
in a glass
bottle to be tossed
into another body
of water—salt or fresh,
or in between.

Downed

The longest
day of the year collapses

into darkness
hours too early. Another bout

of extreme
weather rumbles

through—tears trees
from their roots

like a cat
shedding for summer. Power

lost, flash
flooding drowns

the whimsy
of solstice

ceremonies. Dances
over the river

cannot stop it
from spilling over too far.

Putting Together with Light

When I can’t recognize
the taste of my own
name on the tip

of this inherited tongue.
When water terrifies
but is the only way.

When light’s brilliance
before death
takes me by the hand.

When I’ve got no place
else to go,

the rhythm of you
remains—you
big ole’ muddy river.