River Bottom Girl

I am pieces of my mother’s laughter
and my father’s steady realism;
my heart is shards of muscled,
hammering, puzzle combinations
of pecan tree shaded back roads
and nights studying the stars
wondering why I fear
the sound of my own
singular, heartbeat.
A river runs through my tendons
mimicking the slow beat
of the Chariton
behind my childhood home:
contradictory as sandbars
showing in the heat of the summer
then pummeling the bridge rails
with tree branch laden waves
when the banks reach full point
after a week of hard rain.
My soul wakens and shakes
with little ripples 

when I’m alone
listening to tree frogs sing
melodies of unburdened
enjoyment in the evening’s
fading sunlight.
There are moments I feel as soft
and whispering
as a wood duck’s call-
yet in others I am a raging
wide open levee break
leaking out dark water,
crashing and crushing
all the beauty
on the other side.

Copyright © 2016 Pearl Bayou


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