My friend the river never fit their mold either.
He’d carry their barges and pleasure boats, then
Reclaim a field that once had been his or hold
A swimmer too close, not giving up what he took.
I tried the carnival balls and white gloves prescribed
For proper Southern girls, but was more Southern
Than prim, understanding the sameness of the
River’s currents and mine pushing against our banks.
No corsets for him or me; I stole his dogwoods
For a gown while matrons clucked at my shame and
Their regret – still needing us to validate
The tight patterns of life ordained for gentle folk.
So I threw away hats and teas and ritual crap
For a beach, typewriter and me, succeeding
At my grandest failure in conformity.
My river egged me on and reclaimed a whole street.