Holy in the Sight of
The summer river is green-green, dark emerald swallowing light. My father and I paddled a turquoise canoe over it, careful not to swallow the St. Joe water like everyone said, holy with bacteria. In mid-life my father lived out by its swamps; in the city, we’d bicycle to where he grew, to parking lots where I’d later sing vodka drunk. When I can’t sleep, I study these street maps lit up in my palm, telling myself to stay alive calculating how many miles (2.7) from where my father’s father died in backyard cherry tree (his own hand tied the knot) to the riverbank where the dancehall stood, inside which my genesis: my mother and father dancing, meeting their family homes (1.2) miles apart before the marriage, before the divorce. Someone said A society treats nature the way it treats its women. My grandmother was finally leaving my grandfather when he did it. My father still says he doesn’t understand my mother. Someone said, Flood the land then with menstrual blood. Wait. I keep pleading with my sons to listen not just to their father, but to their mother also. There is something of the one whose name means bitterness in all of us, the one who streamed water into the desert. When she died, all turned to dust, the same one who turns our blood to children, who grows a city, who stretches out across this border, all borders, in the sight of her holiness, hush and listen.
NATALIE SOLMER is the founder and Editor In Chief of The Indianapolis Review, and is an Assistant Professor of English at Ivy Tech Community College. She grew up in South Bend, Indiana, went to Clemson University in South Carolina and majored in horticulture. Before her return to grad school and career in teaching, she worked as a grocery store florist for 13 years. Her poetry has been published in numerous publications such as: Colorado Review, North American Review, The Literary Review, and Pleiades. For more of her work go to NatalieSolmer.com
Cover image by Linds Sanders.
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