here you go Kim. thanks for coming to the reading.

under the bridge in Shiprock
by t. zoEy benally

Part I

the sun was going down
the kids ran ahead
on the bridge
their heather shadows bobbed in the distance
the full moon was reflected
yellow on the San Juan River waters
its glow lit up the river bed
illuminating the muddy mucky depths

a dark shadow slowly paddled through
the moon's reflection
obviously enjoying the cool night air

"LOOK!" i shouted
everyone stopped and looked into the water
the bulky figure turned expertly in the current
and made it's way to the tamarisk and russian olive thickets
at the banks of the river
we watched for a while
in hopes that the creature
would swim back to bask in the moon's reflection
eventually we grew tired of swatting mosquitos
and made our way home

Part II

on my walk home after work
thoughts of leftover soda sealed in plastic bottles
and discarded in the landfills
filled my mind
sutry antibalas' orchestra
afrobeats in my ears
i remembered and looked over the edge
the sun was still up
and i could see it!
it swam slowly out
to the middle of the river
dark brown coat glimmered in the sunlight
sensing my presence
it tilted its head
looked at me
(obviously not the eye placement of a predator)
sighed with annoyance
dove under the muddy water
and dismissed me with a tail slap
i laughed out loud
a boy on a bike passed, glanced at me
and probably wondered about the status of my marbles

Part III

i thought of dj kumquat
...how we once found him
leaned over the rail
poetry pouring out of his pen
i ran all the way back
across the steel and concrete
to ask him
if he would
come dance with us

i leaned over the water edge today
to see what poetry i could find
perhaps floating in the waters
there it was again, a beaver
swam against the current
through the thick brown water
color of coffee i made as a child
half milk, half caffeine
i saw it's perfect round ears
sparkly black eyes

quiet morning swim
while cars & trucks
zipped over
not knowing what poetry flows beneath

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