by railroad, highway, and foot bridge.
Cliffs swagger above the gorge,
moss patches smutting the granite.
A filmmaker plans a drama here.
He has entitled it River Sad.
I’m to star as the bad guy,
an elderly doper who kidnaps
a brassy young couple, drugs them,
ties the handsome blond hero
to the railroad while he ravishes
the woman in primary colors.
The man frees himself and rushes
to the cabin where the doper leers,
but a flood crushes down the gorge
and flushes everyone out to sea,
where unless we spout fins and gills
we drown in wide-screen glory.
Silly plot, but the filmmaker pays
in cash. I knot the drugged young man
to the railroad, then drag the woman
to the cabin. As we pretend
to destabilize our bodies
before the groaning camera
a diesel horn toots. Surely
the director warned the railroad
to stop all trains for the day.
We dash to the bridge and discover
only certain parts of the actor
we left writhing in his bonds.
I peer down the length of the gorge
and detect a rumble of train
retreating, satisfied, and notice
that where the river dips underground
a rope-pull ferryboat crosses
and some grinning fellow waves.