There is a river
beside the trees
that flows around
the broken glass
and hurries through
the trays of ash
that choke the birds
and fumble words
and smother all the roses.

It winds around
the crumbling brick,
surging past
half-painted walls
and echoing through
empty halls
to wane and crash
break back and splash
a sonnet at my feet.

The river does not
start or end
it surges on
through days and years,
cascading past
freshwater tears
and bloodshot eyes
stiff-lip disguised
as adult honesty.

The tears swim down
the murky streams
to rainbow fish
that leap and plunge,
and dip and wave
and twirl and lunge,
to mirror bright
and warm delights
back into empty spaces.

But winters come
and rivers freeze.
These lights will all
but disappear
like warmer days
were never here.
The fish will leave
and I shall grieve
the river in abandon.

My mother stops
to dry my face
and promise that
when spring is near
my rainbow fish
will reappear
to splash away
these tepid days
and thaw the frozen places.

but should I learn
to love this place
I’ll slowly build
a taste for ash,
forget the sound
of river’s splash,
to grow in age
and embrace the cage
of adult endless winter.

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