Old Man River

This one took a bit longer than a half hour, but I want­ed to fin­ish it. Still needs workshopped/​reviewed/​edited.

The riv­er is an old man in a
smelly nurs­ing home. The smell is
like peanut but­ter in
the desert sun. The smell is not
quite his fault.
The old man is a few feet
short­er than usu­al and
long long ago lost any use
for dig­ni­ty. Instead, he sinks
in­to his bed, and ex­pos­es
him­self to passer­by.

Four un­matched tires start
to dry in the sun. Mosquitos
lay their eggs in the shad­ed
torus­es, hu­mid and al­gal. One,
bald like the man, has a bit
of musty hemp rope tied to it.
Sixty miles up­stream the rest of
the rope hangs noose­ly over a pond.
The pond miss­es jupiter laugh­ter and
sat­urn splash­es. The sec­ond tire
has a wide white wall from the
old Chevrolet, the very car
where our old man sat close
to a re­al girl and touched
her warm back with rain­drop fin­gers.

Tire num­ber three, from the war,
from some ve­hi­cle shut­tling men
front­ward and corpses back­ward,
dri­ven by our hero, Old Man River.
The fourth tire has a sto­ry
of its own. It shines
like mos­qui­to wings and its tread
is heavy with the cil­ia of un­worn rub­ber.
The riv­er and the old man,
bank­rupt and de­crepit,
keep some se­crets.

4 thoughts on “Old Man River

  1. I want­ed to write about a car made from dif­fer­ent parts, but couldn’t think of any­thing to make it go. Maybe lat­er.

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