by Steve Davenport
Takes a flood to turn a bottom, make hell
of the houses on stilts and the ones squat
as toads hugging shore dirt. Tree-float and sop’s
the least of it. Takes more than a boat line
to drag a failing body from that noise,
the sucking into the long pull. River’s
anything but solidity of things,
no riprap of rocky words for footing.
River brings flow, flood, and alluvium.
Bottom was never saved by a song. Levee’s what
a river makes of it.
Steve Davenport is the author of Uncontainable Noise, which won Pavement Saw Press’s 2006 Transcontinental Poetry Prize. His New American Press chapbook Murder on Gasoline Lake is listed as Notable in Best American Essays 2007, and a story of his, published in The Southern Review, received a Special Mention in Pushcart Prize Anthology 2011. His second book of poems, Overpass, is published by Arsenic Lobster/Misty Publications. The above poem is reprinted from this book by permission of the author.