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