in a motorless boat, water

licking aluminum sides, leaving

a muddy stain. Newborn

summer stretches and opens each

fist, neon green leaves, tiny wild

daisies, plump red orbs.

We float and doze

until we hit a wall of wind

under some old country bridge,

concrete smeared with red and black

graffiti. We slap our little oars against

stubborn ripples for a slow hour.

Our arms burn. Minnows

flash silver like coins

skipping across the surface. Two laughing

fishermen zoom up and offer

to tow us a few miles. They toss

us cold beers from their boat. The wall

becomes liquid

over our bodies. Sensations

blur into one

giant streak- the moment’s

tragic dash

into the smoky gloaming.

We float as silhouettes

under every star, and know

that we are small. Frogs and crickets

chant in an intense language

we wish we knew. We pass around

a bottle in the dark until the moon

joins us and gets so drunk she spills

her shine all across the river.

Jennifer Yuill lives in Tampa. Her work has appeared in Boston Literary Magazine and is forthcoming in Harpur Palate.

“We Float Down the Wabash” was inspired by a boat trip I took with a few friends my last summer living in Indiana. We were young and thought we could conquer nature. After three days of drifting the river took our boat, and we gladly surrendered.



Copyright 2009