With Three International Students on the Olentagy Bridge in Ohio

by Michael Lohre

It is twilight and the river barely winds.
The east arches remind me of Dresden far
away on the Rhine before we destroyed
our minds. Bomb us to the river. It’s
the only place that’s safe. Sandbars
below like the back of a whale to ride
away. The lights of the city coming
on like eyes in the water, like candles
in catfish jugs to me, like the first fires
of man to one soul whispering Chinese.
How frightening it must have been to see
that reflection: those first flames. A couple
stands near me and something in the woman’s
face says jump now and all water finds a way
to Kenya. We are standing quiet at the rails,
the fog growing heavy as if to catch any spirit
or word produced either from pain or joy.
Then the city wind gusts in and sucks at our
open gums. And we hold our stories inside.
The moon appears and its light draws
our figures closer together down the rail.
Our shadows showing on the water
like folks up early to work or refugees
wishing against the moonlight. You can
bomb a river and it just gives and gives.
We are here because it’s dark and we live.
You can bomb this river and never, never win.

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