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voice of Tethys
A man calling grouse or doves The enveloping chill of the stream in that smallest meadow Pools of shadow blurring its tree lines Here is a hiding spot I might still wriggle into Always the trapped smell of sunlight & the oiled axe to split the last of the kindling & the bank’s rippled edge & the heavy suckerfish Steady under the running water There it is a sunken leg Now there is a wrongful sight Or even the leg floating free beyond a bend Slave to the running currents * The year’s hatchlings impossible to catch Anywhere the foot splashes up down Bodies that are wearied in the end A white gate reflecting moonlight Erasing the lines of curtilage The slats as if drunken & wandering freely The hinge worked loose from the post Itself falling The slatternly rise over the next boundary Linking mine to yours Mine to another’s Leading leading Always to the verge * I believe I am fated yes I have a mild dampened fact for a body How did I walk What did I run to see Why set my footprints where The dust here is tracked over At a black metal post With swirls scuffs This here was nothing I believed I would have Or have any need to relinquish
(c) 2023 Mary Jane White
Mary Jane White is a poet and translator who lives in Waukon, Iowa. Her most recent book is Dragonfly. Toad. Moon. (Press 53, 2022).
Editor’s Note: Tethys was the Greek goddess of freshwater who bore six thousand children to her husband Oceanus. Those children became the rulers of all rivers, streams, lakes, and rain clouds. She was also a devoted mentor and caretaker of Hera who would become Zeus’s wife, and Tethys was also the grandmother of the popular goddess Athena.
Nicely in tune with “The Science Behind Streams and Rivers.” Like an Echo….
Thanks, Matthew. It’s great when we can dove-tail poetry with science.
Such fresh, new, exquisite lines! A completely convincing dramatic monologue… Thanks, Michael.
Yes, I’ve loved Mary Jane’s work for a long time.