Note from the River

by Twila Newey

Fall had just turned cold 
the year I hung over you—speechless and intent—
death making an end of all 
my exquisite preparations—words 
stolen from my mouth. 
Here, when I speak, only fireflies fly out. 
Sultry and opaque I slipped 
through the haze between worlds 
that postcard you kept writing me 
Joy was to be endured as well as sorrow 
like a fountain vanishing the body flows 
for a little while. A risk 
to return as mist rising
in another century, another shoreline, 
I trusted your impulsive hospitality
What else could I do but try 
to speak again of light—
of desire—maybe 
shake us both free 
of father’s tongue. I’m telling you 
it was a mistake to weigh my pockets 
down with stones and wander into water.


Note: Italicized lines are from Virginia Woolf’s “Moments of Being.”

Twila Newey lives and writes at the confluence of poetry, local ecology, motherhood, and the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers in Northern California. You can find recent work at Green Mountains Review, About Place Journal, and Radar Poetry.