the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Caroline Holme

Northern White Violets

The full moon, huge, looks mildly down
like a cepacol lozenge that soothes
the wild, harsh, sore yearning in my throat.
It's faith I'm after, faith in what is
whole and shared. No more comparing and
contrasting to make it come out my way,
winner take all. Once, as a child, losing
a birthday party game, I lost myself,
split off, dark descending early.Then the will
to win like a boomerang cut me down.
It's faith I'm after, faith in what is whole
and shared—even small, even in solitude.
Though later I had to face the devil
across the kitchen table with our contract
between us, up for renewal.We argued
back and forth like lovers: I defiant,
twisting words every which way, shouting
to make my point. He, obstinate
with his hope-killing smile. I faced him
at the table under the fluorescent glare.
He reached out and snatched my future from me—
I hung on and fought—the pages started to
tear—I let go

then the scene melted to woodviolets
clustered in a worn corner in the grass.
White violets looking up, reflecting
the moon in their pale faces.



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