Down by The River, poem by Charles Swanson

(A poet­ic com­ment on Breece D’J Pancake’s short sto­ry “A Room Forever”)

Between cold build­ings, out to the slate gray river
a view as flat as old year’s end. A room,
a room for­ev­er, not because of heaven—
instead because of death. Rose blood blooms
at her small wrists. The man waits at the river,
his tug a means down fur­ther, down with dumped
waste to the Delta. But his frozen vision
sees the fog­gy riv­er, the driz­zle as the same.
These pages!—why do I feel this man’s heart?
Every­thing is cold, the town, the river,
the fog­gy rain, the woman, not much more
than a child, yet a pros­ti­tute. He takes her
nonethe­less. An ache beats against the river.
She tries to end it, he just stares some more.

View More: A. Swan­son teach­es dual enroll­ment Eng­lish in a new Acad­e­my for Engi­neer­ing and Tech­nol­o­gy, serv­ing the South­side region of Vir­ginia. Fre­quent­ly pub­lished in Appalachi­an mag­a­zines, he also pas­tors a small church, Melville Avenue Bap­tist in Danville. He has two books of poems: After the Gar­den, pub­lished by Motes­Books, and Farm Life and Leg­end, from Fin­ish­ing Line Press.

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