The River Carries a Photograph of You By Amanda Oaks

The River Carries a Photograph of You

It will remember you this way too,
when you waited until it rained
to wash your hair— waist-length
& waterside, the morning after
we decided that freedom wasn’t a word
that can be captured—that it can only be
chased after, but listen: I want to remember
more, like the way your hands
sometimes smelled of tomato vines
& touched me just the same— sharp
but softhearted, how they knew
how to flush my skin ripe—
how they taught it to repel
any other mouth but your mouth
but my mouth waters like The River,
eats at the banks that hold it in, snaps
like a guitar string on stage
& the audience has to wait—
has trouble holding all their horses in
while they hang fire on the breath
of the people standing next to them or—
the way a roll of film aches to touch paper
while it sits undeveloped & forgotten
in a locked drawer cursing the flood
that swallowed the only key to open it—
it wasn’t because the sun was crashing
into your skin just right that day or
the way you carried the weight
of everything that was wrong with us
& the world with such grace,
it was because of the way you touched
the water, how the ripples you made died—
dreaming of being nothing
but waves.

By Amanda Oaks


Amanda Oaks is the founding editor of Words Dance Publishing, an independent press, literary blog + biweekly online poetry journal. Her works have appeared in numerous online & print publications, including decomP, Stirring, & Thought Catalog. She is the author of four poetry collections: Hurricane Mouth (NightBallet Press, 2014), her co-authored split book, I Eat Crow (Words Dance, 2014) & her series of free music-inspired eChapbooks which can be downloaded here : + you can connect with her here:

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