Michelle Penn

2 Poems

Retablo for impossible waters

Every river a keening.

The Seine: I was flayed on my back, dress
shrouding, shoes drifting away, I was inventing
my own madness and drowning
happily in it.

The Rhine: I posed on a rock, singing men
to their deaths, that must
have been me, the woman left and lost and singing,
isn’t that the cliché, victim swung aggressor?

Unnamed river: taunting.

                          Every river a repository for the impossible
             or what I feared was failure, all my seasons overflowing
             with need.
                          Every river a conversation in a cryptic language,
             I waved my forked stick, seeking
             hidden branches, lost tributaries, the tense fable
             of skin.



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