Caroline Crumpacker
You Are a Guest of Nature: Behave

(after Friedensreich Hundertwasser)



From where I stand

the river      is       a  symbol


and the landscape less    itself

than            our idea of itself.


We walk through            unaware

of the                   compromise.


We don’t speak the river’s tongue.

Mythic        bottled                 panorama.


It was built            for more than bridges.


Crocodiles and river gods

                call it home.

Squalls and lotus eaters

                call it sister.


Bathers call it hither and yon

and here we stand        as skeptics



We forget the times we drowned,

as a duchess and a soldier


as a guest of the water.


We would pave the river over

               if we could.      


We would wear it               as a boat wears

its               prowess upon the hook.


And it would lure us in           to its center

spilling into our yards    and overflowing

its every bank with        water         and dreams of water.


The vision has not        invited us in

to its           discussion   .

The vision is busy         being itself.


Water snake         water rat

washing shirts      and    bodies

and still the river is moving out from its center


                     merchants and minor deities         guns and divers.


No match            for the rising tide.





Found In Volume 51, No. 03
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Caroline Crumpacker
About the Author
Caroline Crumpacker is the author of Astrobolism (Belladonna Collaborative, 2016). She is also a contributing editor to Matters of Feminist Practice, a journal of feminist engagement, and was a founding poetry editor of Fence.