OXIDANT | ENGINE : Issue 4
THE RIVER IS BEAUTIFUL BUT WHICH RIVER ARE WE TALKING ABOUT
Ohio’s third season is deconstruction as in: what is being built will never be built as in: Ohio asks for my trust and I give it frequently trust that spills I ask Ohio what to do when a spill becomes a flow and it says leave me
Do you know that the Iroquois call the Ohio river a creek that continuously spills/gives
I learn after that fact river is for things like the Mississippi
that the Grand River is not big enough for its name
that Ohio doesn’t even own most of its river.
The Hockhocking is not a river either bottle/gourd spill-flow that sings its beginning
I fail to the learn the song of waterfall I ask Ohio to sing it again and it says we call it the
Hocking now, the maps you’re reading are outdated.
And what of the river that oozes rather than flows where one does not drown but decay
I ask Ohio what to do when a flow becomes an ooze and it says Burn
The crooked jawbone was river enough to burn Cuyahoga cried and Ohio looked away, no need
to commemorate a second burning.
I stand in the river of many fish and its water says take there is plenty I ask this river what to call it and it says Home as in: always enough as in: no invitation necessary. I go back to this river in winter and summer there are signs that warn against eating its fish
the river says trust me
the river feeds Ohio’s gods just fine I am one of the beautiful river people it does not matter which river I came from
Jessica Cogar is a northeast Ohio native who earned her MA in creative writing from Ohio University. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Santa Ana River Review, small po[r]tions, decomP MagazinE and elsewhere. Recently she was a finalist for the Arcturus Magazine's 2017 Swati Award in Poetry sponsored by the Chicago Review of Books. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Mississippi.