Explanation Beginning With a River

Swimming in a thin print dress among piranhas—
that year, you learned a place I can’t fathom.

In a jungle three thousand miles away, you
watched sea turtles bury their eggs in the dark;

you gathered bitter cassavas, drained their poison
for days to make bread.

You have patients now:

a woman drips with toxins, a guy in a johnny
chases you down the hall

cursing for opiates.

You have this place you go to:


I can shake the sky for nighthawks and parse

the bark-puzzle of a London Plane. It doesn’t
matter how many other people I talk to:

at home, I listen to the pipes thrum inside
our walls. I don’t know how to be alone.


Appeared originally in AGNI Online.