J.P. Dancing Bear: “Riverbed in Twilight”


A bed opens itself to a twilight sky and we rise, we float away.

Beneath us, a river reflects what it knows of beds:

long shadows and distorted shapes becoming silent clouds

of storms. What water knows of marriage is silt

and occasionally the overrunning of banks and the headlong rush

deep into the land.  In this way it is a returning of what was given,

of what was taken, and something of the tension that makes water

come and hold together. Still we lift skyward, to survey each bend.


A bed peels back its layers and reveals the fossil impressions

of our bodies: the knot and twist of each muscle, the tendriling spines,

trilobite ribs. Where did we go? Up. Yes. But then? Was it to heaven?

To become new stars? I wanted to stay a little longer next to you,

I wanted to at least look back on our bed and see our outlines—

just as when water is gone, how the mud remembers the currents.

J. P. Dancing Bear is co-editor for Verse Daily and Dream Horse Press. He is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, most recently Cephalopodic (Glass Lyre Press, 2015) and Love is a Burning Building (FutureCycle Press, 2014). His work has appeared in American Literary ReviewCrazyhorse, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere.

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