Brown River

I flee to the forest and the placid river running
through, hoping it will distract my fevered spirit.

I burrow deeper into the steamy summer green,
alive with an ageless cyclic promise, swollen
with birdsong reminding me to hold on a little
longer, things will get better; saying plain that the
agony of the asphalt world is not the truth, winter
will always give way.

I hear the river long before the trees divide. And when
they at last open into a verdant frame, I see the water
wide and swollen, chocolate from days of pelting rain.

It is bloated and slow, flagrant. It lurches over one end
of a fallen tree, the sunny haven of the black turtles.

Instead of finding another log they crowd onto the bit
of remaining space on this log. Some are stacked aslant
onto their neighbors like dirty plates.

And I wonder: why don’t they leave?
Why don’t they find a better place?

I hear some cross oceans in leaky boats and some
cross deserts with empty water bottles to get to a better
place, just to begin again with nothing.
Maybe the turtles are too comfortable now.

Things are good here so far from the braying social media
and schools that will forever bear the smell of gunpowder
and the Brownshirts wearing red hats who have
forgotten that the victors do not write the history books.
The writers do.

I toss a rock nearby, and the turtles scatter, at last seeking a
better home.

I feel mended.
But I shouldn’t.

Mick is a writer and father who is not allowed to buy his own clothes. His work has appeared in numerous consumer magazines, newspapers, literary journals, three books of poetry, and children's picture books. He is a member of the Georgia Writers Registry, Gwinnett County Writers Guild, and founding member of the Snellville Writers Group. In 2018, he created a quarterly reading series with a fundraiser for the local food co-op. He lives with his wife and a dozen larcenous squirrels in Atlanta, GA. His next book is coagulating nicely. Read more at Read other articles by Mickey.