the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Susan Tepper


We've reached earth's end
the northern line
where trees bend toward
nothingness— same as

when you were here
that illusion was boundaries
stepped across chalk marks:

A person gets killed
buying groceries, taking
the dog for a walk—

you said it was fake—



That love is a matter of time
Sliding in pictures, clocks

And the melting process

You cook eggs, mornings
Then pet the dog before

A plain frame house
Its wood and the shingles
Laid arm to arm

The way soldiers take a hill
Or a field that slopes
Steeply, remembering

Churches— that white
Sun in their eyes slowly



What hushes the night screams
are animal piercings

break your skin, a slender
rod drawing blood in lines—

Early spring come the ruts
trees stalk, hang idle
across roads—
you try walking—

Overhead the cold draws low



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