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Swing Low, Old Man

By ErinEph All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Drama

...

I am a person of rivers, of earth and reeds and boats from storybooks passing by in a single direction, flowing swiftly through the passing water. I am a person of a river’s direction, from the place where it is birthed by streams and split easily by saplings, to its confluence, a mile wide and choked with whirlpools spinning deeper into themselves and outwards, downstream again, all the way to the delta that reeks amphibious and shimmers with spilled diesel fuel.

There’s poetry in rivers, in the romance of their names. The sigh in the river Ohio, meandering through the corruptions visited upon it by the chemical plants, tire factories, and waste treatment centers that pay money to Appalachian states for the privilege of poisoning their inhabitants. The stalwart breadth of the Missouri, formed by ice ages and forded by pioneers, taking its tribute in their animals, possessions, and children. The silver banner of the Rio Grande, a far more poignant symbol of patriotism and the American dream than any flag-draped high school football stadium in any county of Texas. The twists and turns sung for the mnemonic device of the Mississippi, the biggest, the muddiest, the grandfather of them all that both nestled and laid its fishbelly waste to the city of my birth.

An ocean is deliverance but a river can breathe. It continues to run, to overflow, to laugh at the dams, bridges, and barge captains trusted to control it, and when it heaves up its gifts, washes them up on shores of mangrove tangles or brick slopes slapped into place during drought seasons, it is forgiven. It’s offerings are whole trees hurled downstream after twisters, blind catfish the size of refrigerators, weapons, toys, a piece of a now defunct waterpark slide and sometimes bodies, so many bodies, riddled with bullets or entombed in the trunks of drowned cars or sometimes just soaked through, lungs rotted into sludge become food for mutated crustaceans.

When I was maybe six, my grandmother took me on a riverboat cruise. Standing at the railing near the paddlewheel, I watched white-bellied dead fish float past as I sucked orange soda through a straw and said to her, “Imagine all the dead bodies in there.”

Her reply was non-commital and, looking back, probably a little bit scared.

I am still awed by the grand scale of seas and terrified by the thought of standing atop the crushing height of Victoria Falls, and I admit that there is a cold loveliness to the depth of Puget Sound, a briny waft stealing through downtown streets up from the scalloped bay that drops suddenly into an ink-dark cloak for families of whales.

But it is rivers that I know most intimately, and their loam that I smell when I go home in my dreams. I squeeze their clay through my fists and still worry at their levels in late spring. I am here, alive, and my skin and hair know the sting of saltwater fog, but already, some form of my body rides the river currents, mute and staring, critters nibbling as I drift past.

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Alkira Joan: amazing story and plot, you just need to work on re reading and punctuation and gramma .'.........................................................................................................,.,.,..,.,.,.,.,..,.,.,..,.,.,..,.,.,..,.,.,.,..,.,..,.,.,..,.,..,.,.,.

annie08c: I really like this story, I can relate to it a lot and with how she feels, the boyfriend and the events that happened but I'm a little bit younger. It was really good plot, really liked how you stuck to the topic and you had a new title for every chapter making me guess what's going to happen. Ma...

ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...

warehalleyr: I usually have a difficult time staying interested in books long enough to actually finish them. This story however, had me so caught up that I'd only stop to sleep at 3am when my body would no longer allow me to keep my eyes open. What I loved about this was that I could actually imagine the rea...

jessiehs: This was absolutely amazing. I loved how it went back and forth between perspectives. I actually cried at the end I was so happy. This was amazing. I can't even think of another word to describe it. Thank you for writing his.

Sandra Estrada: I loved every minute of it and I thank my lucky stars that brought me to the story, it's been a whirlwind of emotions, plot twist after plot twist but I never got tired of them. Abby and Kade's story is a hard one to understand but once you're submerged in their story and love, you can't help but...

jessiealexandrap: Truly loving the novel, each chapter presents itself greater than the one beforehand. I truly love the novel and give definate question to why it's not published of yet. The novel truly deserves great attention and all should read the beautiful story.

Shalyse Wright-Bethea: Thank god I found you. Last night I caught up on the other site and saw that people were having trouble finding you.I was so sad at the thought of not finishing the story. I look forward to more. ~ Zephyrrine

brettylee: The narrative is slick yet punchy. Life, Family and Friends I believe is the core message so it’s easy to relate to. It’s surprisingly action packed. The author does a good job at keeping you guessing. Just when you think all is right, whack, the unexpected happens. The dialogue is energetic and ...

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