ferrotypes of drowning children
i. one sleeps loose toothed at the foot of the dam in florence, wi the one that took great uncle fred trudell’s twin brother’s life as he built it legend has it he turned silver and now no one can forget how what we build with our hands will kill us that summer i took the cheap gold knife i got from lon finger and carved a totem from the august wake i the black moth ii. jordan left a dollar under a river rock & i pretended i couldn’t possibly know everything that it meant so i laughed & left a chrysanthemum in a catfish's mouth that night the catfish came baring a silver tooth he dropped it in the fire i’d never seen a catfish walk so fast i did not know how to thank him iii. elowah elowah god’s green eye summer before the red winter mouthrotted & moaning passionately drinking sunflowers more than wanting to die i wanted to be born again to eradicate water’s righteous claim to baptism but i have lost too many names to ever bathe again iv. uncle randy has followed me through the wiouwash trail to the slit belly of butte des morts he does not ask why i have a baby’s first christmas ornament or why i would want to watch it sink in the bleak lake i do not tell him why i am cold i do not tell him i do not tell him i do not tell him and we walk home who am i to throw away anything my mother gave me? vi. your brittle water was trembling my sea was turning out so we sank aqualunged & dreaming a flood in our almost broken temple we started to dance the sky shattered we cut our tongue on the glass seven years of okay luck on the last day you told me how often your mouth is empty & you lied through your teeth i told you to think on it i told you drowning is the closest we can get to being born again v. in a river that intersects in a river that sleeps the dreamless sleep of a mannequin i find you you have my name but only half of my face when you speak i am terrified that you’ve grown a head and try to pry the pennies off your eyes you tell me money is nothing to us now you the child of rain
taylor d. waring is a poet/musician from Oshkosh, WI, currently earning his MFA at Eastern Washington University. He recently released his first chapbook, infomercials, and releases music with the bands Baba Yaga, Carved in Bone, and Merlock. He’s the Managing Editor for Willow Springs Books, and writes music reviews for riffrelevant.com. His poetry can be found in Manzano Mountain Review, Levitate, Malevolent Soap, Oyster River Review, Wisconsin Review, Coup d’Etat, and Pacific Review.