Amorak Huey

Estuary, Delta, Confluence, Mouth
                                        The water from a river can enter the receiving
                                        body in a variety of different ways. — Wikipedia

O what I would give for you to ask me to start a fire
in our laundry room. One look and I’d be on my knees
digging for matches in a bottom drawer where maybe
we’ve hidden the evidence that once upon a time
we’d smoke together after the kids went to bed,
on the front porch during a summer rainstorm,
breathing in a little taste of shared mortality,
water misting through the screen against our innocent faces,
our little one-way street a river carrying the season
away from us, carrying one evening toward the next,
carrying our bodies through the days of our lives.
At the end of the street there’s a drain. If we
sit here without speaking, if we listen and listen,
we can hear water disappearing. A sweet song.
I was just saying recently how much I love
small rivers, how many small rivers
were in my life growing up, how each spring our yard
was a river. There was a fire, too, that licked
the dry straw of a fallow field and threatened
everything we had built. Maybe this is why
I spend my days in such a hurry — why I want
so much, why when I look at you in this flickering light
my hunger rises like smoke from my lips —
you’d think ambition would be fire, but water, too,
consumes and covers and drags away
what it cannot destroy. To be washed
clean and new — or to burn hot — what does it say
about me that I can’t decide whether my fantasies
are flood or flame — whether I want to live in the river
or the place at the end where the river finds its home.



Amorak Huey is author of four books of poems including Dad Jokes from Late in the Patriarchy (Sundress Publications, 2021). Co-founder with Han VanderHart of River River Books, Huey teaches writing at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. He also is co-author with W. Todd Kaneko of the textbook Poetry: A Writer’s Guide and Anthology (Bloomsbury, 2018) and Slash/Slash (2021), winner of the Diode Editions Chapbook Prize.