Like Acheron but Not • Chloe N. Clark

Like Acheron but Not


My sister told me once that she
made a river
when she was young
she told me how she dug 
her fingers through the ground
till water welled like blood
from her scalp after running the comb
in her hair too hard.

 She said the river
smelled of damp, rot, 
dust, the inside of treasure
chests in the rain-felled
house. And the river
was the color of rust water
finally run clear but she knew
that it held rust once.

She said it sounded
like bells underwater,
the kind fish might hear if they were 
called home for supper
and that it tasted of the forest 
after the burning, the pavement,
the parking lot formed.

She asked if I wondered
what the river felt like.
I wondered how
the river dreamed,
what it remembered,
who it longed for.

She asked again
but I shook my head
afraid that she
might tell me the river
just felt cold.

by Chloe N. Clark, from Your Strange Fortune
Originally published in Booth