The River
    Joe Maynard
It fell on me to recreate the flow of a river.
I wasn't too familiar with rivers.
I grew up on a lake with lapping waters.
A river is like a wave that doesn't lap, they explained.
It just keeps rolling past the beach.
The other water follows. The direction of
the flow is called a current.

A current is quick and dangerous, I thought.
And cautiously bought a bottle of water to observe.
I looked deep into it's clear center.
I decided I needed punching gloves to make it move.
The water moved a lot, but not like a current.
Soon I was left with an empty broken bottle.

I bought another bottle, plastic this time.
And used a softer approach to coax the water into motion with one of those fans that old ladies wave in church.
But the water remained still in the bottle.
When I was too tired to fan anymore,
I looked long and hard at the bottle for clues.
It had a mountain on the label.
That's where the water came from, it said.

Then someone told me I could just buy a river.
That's what everyone else does.
But it was out of my price range.
I asked about mountains,
but they were even more.

Someone gave me a faucet
and told me to find an apartment.
Once the faucet is attached to the city water supply,
they said, water flows. Like a river.

I tried attaching the faucet to the water pipe, but
I'm mechanically inept.
Water squirted against the walls, the ceiling,
onto the floors then out the door.
I followed the stream down the stairs and out to the street. It looked like a river. I found a pay phone
to thank everyone who helped me along the way.

Joe Maynard lives in Brooklyn, works in Manhattan, and writes between the "G" and "R" lines. The virtual world has placed him in, 5_trope, realpoetik, and The real world has printed him in LUNGFULL!, Skanky Possum, Ben Is Dead and Susie Bright's Best American Erotica, 2001.


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