Natalie Solmer

Twyckenham Notes
Issue Fifteen
Spring 2022

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

Cover image by Linds Sanders.
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