Glass Poetry Press

Volume Five Issue Two

Jnana Hodson

Liquid Cartography

The shoreline changes more than the river. Not moods, exactly, crossing ancestral fishing rights — fishing rites — levee and lock outflow, this uneasy alliance winter melts, sobbing and raging, breaks with a loud crack yet summer shrivels, the surface contracts leaving only pools in places rocks, appearing in midstream islets, expanding crawdads and snapping turtles duckweed and mud everywhere gliding by the battery landing at a cemetery. Still, pulled from my course, how would I go where I desire even though fools drown when the water rises? Where has our own childhood ebbed? Learning to swim, to paddle, to bait a hook takes a guide or at least a teacher. A green heron or duck in an ominous calm, an echoing call even amid broken glass, discarded tires, rusting hulks of old refrigerators and cars old men in hip-waders are casting. Men, with a mind to fish know a trout plowed this channel: a large trout, all the way from the sea. How far upstream can you trust? Raining stones, raining hailstones the mill, dam, bridge wash away in a rage. What fills my bucket, fills my glass, fills my boat. Some never ice over (not like this). Around the bend, is a different story. Heading upstream demands repeated decisions even if you're sticking to a main channel — downstream, everything comes together.