Idlewild by Anna Knowles

         The Ohio is a dirty brown marble rolling
         west though its pace tells us otherwise.
                      We hover outside Louisville just enough
to know absence, to feel ourselves rippling apart.
                                            The humidity alone peels.
                      The first rush of the locals
ripens into a pallid afterthought, a condition otherwise known
         of as portraiture. Just as the sky faces us
         seeing how we’ve aged beneath its wilderness, the atmosphere
                             kneels down to present daydreams that never happen. 

Perhaps this is a race I’m too late in noticing—
                      always close to shore, we move from mud
                      to nothingness, a no-place suspended above
                             steam. The calliope stumbles through a hot-tempered
version of Waiting For Robert E Lee Down Yonder 

         and history wears us long enough to know the year. Halves
of hands pierce hot smoke as we slip beneath
                      Big Four Bridge. Long-elbowed waves, goodbye—
         quick wrist flips, if you must go, be quick—

and nothing good happens fast because this is the good
         that moves pools of movement parting waves parting
                      lips almost as wet. I want to pull pedestrians from steel

trusses into the murky light of the riverbed but their hands
                      are too far to reach, the Belle lurches forward, beckons
                      in every direction as we turn—to me, to you.

About Anna Knowles