October 14, 2009


by Dominic Rieniets

Part the river with me before
the crocodiles return.
The sneezing powder we blew in their noses
when they clawed themselves onto our
vanishing bank is washing off in their
retreating death-rolls. Embraced and
emboldened by the muddy river's bed,
their gnashing, thrashing teeth will return
as an invitation to witness how empty
their stomachs are not.

The river needs crossing and I have never
in all my life, even in my childhood, ever
wanted to swim with a crocodile.

So, part the river with me before
the hippopotami return. Put away the
hippopotamus repellent conch.
They're coming back angry and they're
coming back for keeps. They won't be
startled away this time from their
stomping, fromping grounds and
I don't want to be fodder for their feet.

I have only ever sometimes, maybe dreamt
of riding a hippo, but today is
not the time for dreaming.

Part the murky depths with me before
the manatees arrive and we will walk across.
They're not much danger here, but they
like to munch on your hair as you walk
across the river. It's really more of a nuisance
than a threat to our state of being; all the same
we might as well avoid them with the rest.
I can't afford your ferry on the river Styx,
but I will see you crossed before what
dreams may come leave me for
the better place you own.