From the River Ravi

From the River Ravi

From the River Ravi
— With lines from Tarfia Faizullah’s “Aubade Ending With the Death of A Mosquito”

From the railing of the bridge
I toss a coin
into the river’s murky sleeve—
its litter floating, dispersals lustered
by the sky.  Once, I wanted
to say one true thing—
as in let me break free.

The river is hurt,
a toxic belly with bloated
minnows, lovers
dumped. I walk its cusp.

A weary pilgrim
who haunts the sludge
flings from gaunt arms
chunks of meat for crows.

She holds out a lump, waits
for me to clutch back.
I turn to leave the river
the city, and its people.

You will carry this burden,
she rasps, eyes narrowed
on a bubbling rainbow,
long after you learn
your city, your love,
is a force, the planet spinning
retrograde to the sun.