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Holocene  •  19 May 2021  •  Fiction

I am a river and I told them what you did

Photograph by Rachel Percival

By Kate Rafferty
I am a river and I told them what you did

I am a river‭. ‬

Ripples and waves and trees rocked by thunder‭. ‬

The creek won’t cut it‭ ‬—‭ ‬I’m Niagara Falls‭. ‬

Don’t tell me your sorrows‭, ‬I won’t hear them‭,‬

Not over my thrash and rise‭.‬

My current’s a riot and I’m flooding‭,‬

All ice and fury‭. ‬

I don’t cower‭, ‬not anymore‭,‬

Not after what you did‭.‬

You left me to rot‭, ‬but I didn’t‭,‬

I met the reeds‭,‬

They wrapped their roots around me‭,‬

And armoured me in green‭, ‬

When I grew strong I braced‭, ‬I told them what you did‭.‬

We’re seething‭, ‬now‭, ‬the reeds and me‭.‬

Livid for the waters and vines‭,‬

The ones you spoiled and strangled‭,‬

You thought we’d let that slide‭, ‬

The thing is‭, ‬I’m not a fan of slippery‭,‬

Only steady storms‭,‬

I found my temper in the torrent‭,‬

Where there’s no cleansing of crimes‭.‬

You say I’m churning false streams‭, ‬now‭,‬

A crusade against your kind‭,‬

But really‭, ‬I’m planning a tempest‭,‬

You can’t run‭, ‬you can’t hide‭,‬

I’ll be bigger than Iguazú‭, ‬and not as nice as Tame‭,‬

And I’ve left mercy at the riverbank‭, ‬

Because you did the same‭.‬

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