Burning River

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I will tell my son over and over again,"Do not let the rivers burn."Mountains must standuntil winds and rains come,and they -- and only they --will cause them to sinkback into the centerof that universal riverwhich is their'sand their children's,Magpie, Bear, and Coyote too.

I will tell him over and overand over again.

Joan, my hostess, was telling me about the river as she drove me from Kent State to the airport. "This is the only river in America that ever burned." The countryside is smalltown industrial America, settled with small erecto-set plants for the making of small parts, things to package things in, things to take things apart with. I am appalled and try to smother the apprehension that makes me think that soon we shall suffer many burning rivers.

We wait at the crossing.

The train shudderswith some evil disease.The disease killseven as it dies.And the disease will beat its furious workuntil its frantic energywill become its burning death.

And then the weakened spiritwill turn to the centerand become the cooled windand become the cooled rainand wash the last vestigeof waste from our bones,from our charred ligamentsand wash them back

to the River,the River,the River,four times the River.

© Ortiz Simon Joseph