the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night




Rachel Bennett

Walking North from the River Clyde

In the lee of the mortuary,
weathered Victorian brick itself
in the lee of the Court,
there's a victims' shelter,
an art gallery, and a costume
shop, and you can steal
looks into the long windows
as you walk north on Saltmarket,
continue on High, and arrive
at the dappled, climbing
Necropolis, beneath which
is a brewery and a museum
of all the major faiths,
which delights in our believing.


The Library Basement

Genes are just the tangled
stories in our cells, microfiche
showing each fiber in me
all the newspaper clippings
that led to my being here. Here
I shuffle, alone in the library
basement, through slides
of ships and barns, tailors'
benches, rows of vegetables
put up for winter, while outside
time passes regardless of our
counting and our bloodhounds
on this trail. Genes are just
the new mythology, 26,000 or
so daughters of necessity instead
of three, and 26,000 or so verbs
describing their ascendant arc
over not only biology but love,
I hope, and yet over this hope
and its seeds. It's the kind of
epiphany you can only have
in a library basement: 26,000
or so memoranda in a post box
of bones and blood, mine and
also not-mine, an alphabet gone
haywire. But there's your voice
(and a voice that will be), and this
original family teaches the rest
to spin and measure and cut.



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