I’ve been here for ages, my power
formed this land right, all curves and banks,
low countryside and limestone bluffs.

I’ve floated the barges, bounced riverboats:
three feet deep at my head, 200 at my feet—I have range.
I know respect, forever been called Mighty.

Anishinabe named me, kids learned to spell me, skipped rope
to the M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I rhythm and rhyme.
Then suddenly, everyone backed up and called me dirty.

Humph. Well. Whose fault is that? Chemical pushers.
My bowels feel sick.    I wait for spring’s snow melt;
the rivulets run toward my chest,     cold spring rains wake me.

All that fresh cleans me up, makes me bold.
I move fast now, no holding back my nuance. Those little sandbags
are just band-aids on my jugular.     Fools.

Call it what they will, it takes style
the way I know how to break     hearts, slap
those hands that try to control my     twisting

ribbons of water. I’ll sign my name with a flourish

across those muddy fields, those silver
cities you turn to. I’ll remind them
what it means to sing

a song so     brown the trees will know
I’m coming,     the animals will feel my
brown in their bones. You?     Yeah, just sit

back and wait.     Take your time planning
how to fix all my unruly rage.     I’ve found my religion
and     I’m       ready     to     split.

Posted in: Memories, Places