Issue Three: Summer 2018

Return to Issue Three: Summer 2018


LINDA PARSONS

INTO THE WATER

The water is wide, I cannot get o’er/
Neither have I the wings to fly.

—Scottish Ballad

 

He’s so small, the moment I pass the second-
story window. A man at the mouth of the creek
walks further in, the water widens, deepens

into more than creek. He parts the flow
like a razor, where he’s headed no one
can stop him. Maybe down to Meridian

or Gulfport in that navy Bonneville from
the late 60s, hawking Toro tillers and mowers
slick as owlshit with his Alan Ladd looks.

My feet nailed to the floor, as so often
in dreams, my voice cotton dry. The current
cursive at the knees, his pants, the hard crease

he insists on, dark and leaden. A river now,
brown as his Maduros, rising to his chest,
still he walks, beyond terror or calling out

to someone with the power to save or redeem,
beyond the pale of nightmare, so that when
I rush in and pull him to the dream shore,

kneel on thick dream mud, shake my father
from dreamed unrest, only I awaken, only
I am swimming madly to the possible light.


About the Author

Linda Parsons is a poet and playwright and formerly an editor at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She is the reviews editor at Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, former poetry editor of Now & Then magazine, and has contributed to The Georgia ReviewIowa ReviewPrairie SchoonerSouthern Poetry ReviewThe Chattahoochee Review, Shenandoah, and Ted Kooser’s syndicated column, American Life in Poetry, among other journals and anthologies. Her most recent poetry collection is This Shaky Earth, and her newest endeavor is writing for The Hammer Ensemble, the social justice wing of Flying Anvil Theatre.

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