A Heart Like This by Kristen Lang
River we’re on – so much upstream, so much drag-pull-heave, water still
upland, all cow and cow feed, almond trees, cotton and rice seeds, all
you and me, each day: the eat, the clothes, the machines, none
getting down now to the river we’re on. We eats up the river, we say,
we is dust now, wind stepping, dry ghost mother, like
pumice stone, the juice gone from the toes and the calves, from the
collar bones, and look, the heart pushing its gasp
across the horizon.
We think of the woman they found, Lake Mungo, the woman
swallowed into stone. That’s what we’ll be. Some late-
discovered proof of how the dry, once-green slime on the river bed
is not for drinking, not for fish, not for cockatoos, not for dingo
nor kangaroos… We’re not, we say, we’re not here now, not
anything, skin floating away, without the river.