There is news along the Ohio river: a waist-haired woman has perched on a good rock high water has nudged a few feet from shore over months, over a year, on days and nights and wicked limbo, cloaked in mist howling before the breakbeat of sun, however brief in this midsouth sky. This is what dawn looks like here. She cups her hands, waiting while the wind catches wisps of hair adding to the mad look we get at a certain age when a quick glance says fuck if I’ll let it happen again. You could join her. It would only take a skip and there would be solace in her crow’s feet, in the billow of her scarf and the parchment she has rolled out before her knees, held down by two mugs, one steaming, one cold and clear, awaiting pigment, awaiting feathers, and maybe even gasoline.




There is news along the Ohio river: the flood comes later this year and after, there are no signs of younglings. She begs herself not to think about Rachel Carson’s silence, not to wrap her arms in every shred of fishing line she’s gathered here on the banks. No one will understand the protest, why cutting off the blood flow is symbolic like amaranth—also known as love-lies-bleeding, also known as kiwicha, also known as Amaranthus caudatus—she planted out front of the sinking house with its murder sparrows. No one will understand the instinct to dive on a grenade when nobody asked you to. As she picks the crusted burnt skin on her wrist and thinks of Bourdain, she remembers the scars make you legit. But she’s only out here on the bridge trying not to recognize how the tone of their friendship changed after she moved here. The word support. How careful she is not to pop her p’s when she records talks about writing. Rooted in portare, Latin for carry. No matter how many cakes she’s baked, no matter how fresh the berries, no matter how perfect the crumb or the way hot Crisco pools and turns the top of the cornbread that good kind of brown, none of it can make their love permanent. She knows she’s cooking for ghosts.




There is news along the Ohio river: a man has opened all the windows in his century home with its bronze plaque and mouth-blown windows. His snow-faced dog rests on a pillow on the first floor while the man plays a mournful song on French horn and even from a distance, she can see the way his back crooks and feel the ache traipse into the small of her back, the pressure, the pressure, to keep on playing when the gingko leaves have all dropped at once and the house is empty again. And wonder, wonder asks if he can smell the river up there as he spins once before the gods send him a light percussion on the metal roof in the form of raindrops and the patter of squirrels.