River Calling ©

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


h.j. Recinos