Monica Berlin & Beth Marzoni


replaced with bluff, replaced

creek then creek then sky
then creek then drop off,

mile thirteen hundred & So
heading south. Sigh & soft

shoulder. Somewhere
the moon just another cloud

we've learned to read.
No matter tricks our tired

plays or how indecipherably widened
what's true, night will fall

faster than we'd like. This country
others may misread as aimless

we've passed again through, Dear One,          
a long stretch off the grid where

no lines plot here or there &
also someday, & never arrive

but switch back, cross
the road's only promise

keep going. & So,
we mistake field

irrigation for Falls, mistake
drift for tack for anchor

for navigation, mistake left
for the end. Sometimes

we're not wrong.
They named the river

a lark, & found that old man
calling out Stay & come & hush

now & the sound of what distance
bent from all that burns

away around its banks. Those ruins
shadow over a kind of ancient

only water knows. Dear One, only
water knows what we mean. & how

dear what it taught us gives,
bends where it should, pulls away

regardless the habit or course.
Regardless the body trained, dogleg

or hairpin or spur
makes a new bed

to honor convergence,
confluences, & what fierce quiets.



Fun Fact: A raindrop that falls into Lake Itasca, at the start of Old Man, will take about ninety days to arrive in the Gulf of Mexico. Drop us in the river holding that drop and we'd take approximately the same amount of time—barring interruption or detour or catastrophe or barge traffic. This, Faulkner knew: "My, my. A body does get around."