The Study of Rivers                                                                                            —Eleanor Kedney

between stones a rill where water slows, beyond
turbulence. my hatred for a brother

was a receded wave, to say it existed
would be treason—the relief I felt when he died,

perfectly normal, I’m told; he stole more
from me than watch, ring,

gold chain: a rambling laugh, a whirling dance.
the movement of sediment

complex—stream power, sheer stress,
water depth, particulate size—

a river flows toward another body
of water, sometimes never reaches one,

ends its course in the ground.



American beech, roots tangled
in the understory, the bank scoured

by wind and rain—eroded earth, a miracle shift—
the flow still confined, broom sedge

alive, a coppery glow. Our dreams as sediment
turn into rock—last night, I heard:

Don’t take Valium anymore to fall asleep.
If you continue what you are doing, you won’t be here.

The dying say what they will miss the most
is their body. How long I’ve judged the smallest things

to be another. I inspect the damage,
right the canoe, paddle alongside wood ducks,

warm and dry in cold, moving water.
A split branch points upward—the sky has always been there.


Eleanor Kedney

Eleanor Kedney is the author of the chapbook The Offering (Liquid Light Press). Her poems have appeared in Connecticut River Review, Miramar, The New York Quarterly, and Sliver of Stone, among many other journals. She has contributed to a number of anthologies, including The Cumberland River Review: The First Five Years (Trevecca Nazarene University). Eleanor is the founder of the Tucson branch of the New York-based Writers Studio, and served as Director for ten years.

ISSN 2472-338X
© 2018