Our Maury

Ryan McNally


His big toe hardly skims the mountain water’s surface
Before the primal rush flows from the peak of his heart
Down through his blue blooded veins
To every nerve bearing crevasse and appendage he owns.
He grasps the weeds on the Maury’s bank, and gingerly sits down in the tube,
The water tugs at his swim trunks
Locking him in, urging the student to let go.
The student stares down the sedimentary anticline formation 200 feet away,
Spring sunrise shines around the bend.
The student unleashes the dirt patch,
The Maury’s soft flow whispers –
Let me guide you… Let me show you where I’ve been

The Richmond Rail company employees demolish canal locks along the river,
August sun boils the grease in the engineer’s head,
Four straight days of uprooting rusted iron gates in the river,
Only to lay mint steel tracks along its bank.
The engineer does not know if it is a sweat drop
Or a tear
That makes the tiny ripple on the river’s surface.
But the splash is John the Baptist’s echo,
Beckoning to salvage the industrial worker’s soul,
And he unconsciously immerses himself in the mountain water–
Cleaning away the gilded age’s excretion,
Rebirthing a nation, one man at a time.

A Monacan Indian boy walks along the river’s crest,
He holds his father’s copper piece;
The one they told him to throw in the mound,
The hole his father shares with fifteen other men,
Huddled for eternity under the river’s current.
The boys knows he cannot keep this piece,
For it belongs with the golden leaves which cover the river,
That allows the setting sun’s grandeur
To paint the cracks before it descends behind the mountains.
The river grabs the Monacan crest,
And the river drops which hit his shin
Are bits of reassurance,
Reminding him that we deal with loss
Through bodies that live forever.

The ice cracks
And the mountain bends.
The steady melt carves out our homes.
We shift millions of years at a time,
A drop of water makes a valley,
And while we attempt to tame our surroundings,
Name our seasons,
Count our days,
The weathering elements chisel us all.


Thanks for reading. Check out Sand/Shrapnel