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River Sad

2009 November 1
by William Doreski

526886_grahams_flaming_red_keddsA grumbly stretch of river spanned

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.

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