By the River

A weekly poem, read by the author.
Sept. 25 1996 3:30 AM

By the River

He watched her thrash in the reeds like a horned four-leg.

Her body cracked and trembled like the ground opening.

She breathed on the surface of it. She slipped beneath it.

Then it pulled her under. She was the river

and he was on the bank of the river as it rose around him.

There was an opening. A gateway. She disappeared

behind it. The center split wide. He heard the earth groan.

The shores of her body overflowed and she drowned in herself.

His breath whistled in his chest. He was sucked into her.

She would spit him up into the reeds.

The sky was wailing. The river was receding.

Through her lips the earth called and he could not answer.

Then it broke, the waters calmed, he heard the cry and saw the one

who had come from her. The body was like his, not hers,

and yet was not of him. He knelt beside them, alone.

Teresa Cader is the author of a collection of poems titled The Paper Wasp.