They took you down to the riverbank and told
you God was hiding underneath the water that ran
full of ache. You pressed your aching temples into
the water and a voice that sounded like God told
you to try further deep. Your head swimming
further deep with lost aches. Some
looked like koi fish others looked like feverish eels
the color of moss. Their gaping mouths like open graves
reminded you of your grandmother before her death.
On the bottom of the river you saw cracked gray
flooring like a barren desert floor. Cracks wide
as whole countries. A muffled voice that
made the river quiver greeted you
asking if you were drowned enough to speak to him.
Your mouth swallowed wet air to answer as the
voice faded into the distance. And from underneath
you saw desperation howling on the surface
reaching down with an iron palm.
Your body half-drowned laid on the riverbank. River water ran like rivulets
down your face. Your bones were light but full of noise
noise that followed you since you were a little boy
under a Mexican starry night when the cicadas crooned and your mother tried
holding you with hands that were tired from praying
because you had seen death in your head for the first time.
Image: “eye for energy” by Alan L., licensed under CC 2.0.
This poem was a result of my deteriorating mental health in the past couple of years. The last conversation I had with my grandmother a year before her death still haunts me. This poem is meant to be a representation of my mental exhaustion, and it is intended to take the reader through a partial fictionalized glimpse of the aftermath to the aforementioned event. As a writer, I decided to use the second person point of view throughout this poem, to allow the reader to become the character in this small journey; to be able to feel and be immersed throughout. A second person point of view allows readers to strengthen their empathetic capabilities, something that I hope readers will grow into.
This poem came to me in quietness; in a deep, deep silence, that almost felt like a humming ocean. I wrote phrases down, and then images began appearing softly. In structuring the poem, I paid attention to what felt personally right to me. A structure of brokenness, in which I could honor my grandmother and my mental well-being. In this poem, I want to immortalized a brokenness that has seeped into my writing and has allowed me to feel whole.
- At the Riverbank, There is a Half-Drowned Body - January 27, 2023