A poem by Hal Recinos from his forthcoming ninth collection of poetry, Cornered by Darkness; expected publication in late 2020.

 

we know the way to the

river that takes us down the

 

lanes with names nailed to

trees, past the children

 

born without faces who die

young and the baskets filled

 

with unblessed ashes left to

watery eyes. we know the

 

way to the river beneath the

fixed northern star, long ago

 

crossed in the company of

priests, where relatives often

 

disappear, mothers cross to

be detained and infants taken

 

cry their last breath. we know

the way to the river, the many

 

faces it kindly bathes, English-

speaking neighbors who do not

 

wish a fence, and the rooster’s

early morning crowing on old

 

unamerican earth. we know

the way to the river with the

 

slippery banks, the places that

beg us to wade across and take

 

an afterlife chance. we know the

way to the river that smiles at the

 

sound of our saintly names and

we come to her one part ill to

heal.

h.j. Recinos