Today's poem is by Beth Marzoni

Dear So & So

If sleepless straight through & down & out & into
these dog days—rushing along either shoulder, turning

strange music—Iowa swallowed its own sky
inch by inch, its cornfields laced with haze,

then rapture? Yes, but more like of the deep.
At one hundred feet: calculation errors & wrong

choices; anxiety (common in cold murky waters). Driving west
I believed I could outrace the day—the end of day

& our turning over & back into it, endlessly
endless. So, the only thing I saw rise was water—

Memphis gone under, the Missouri threatening too.
In Omaha I watched men pile dirt over train

tracks that would have carried me home
in another life. In another life, he said, I'd put on

a collared shirt on the off-chance I'd be saved. I'd shave.
His voice the rumble keeping me awake. His voice

a river, said Tell me about rivers. Modern levees rise
twenty-five feet above Old Muddy's banks, are

three times as wide at their base, so a mile-long
stretch contains as much as one half-million

cubic yards of earth—impossible. Impossible
across Nebraska I watched the Platte turn ranch-land

lake, turn the whole state sky. A vision, though
it lingered in the rearview & hallucination doesn't

begin until much greater depths—until uncontrolled
laughter, terror in some—& those fifty meters weigh too

heavy to haul ourselves back out. So memory gives.
We lose our sense of time; our faces begin to change.

Copyright © 2013 Beth Marzoni All rights reserved
from Hayden's Ferry Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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