This Poem was Written Inside The River By Amanda Oaks

This Poem was Written Inside The River

“I tried to drown my sorrows, but the bastards learned how to swim…” — Frida Kahlo

I am not lying facedown at the bottom
with my lips stuck in the mud anymore,
body half-buried with silt climbing halfway up
my thighs, my fists aren’t trying to splinter
invisible things with a heavy grip, my lungs
aren’t fat with the flood of it all anymore,
I mean, that’s what I like to tell myself
when I feel like I can’t breathe,
when I feel like I could fall
in love with my own sadness
all over again, what I mean is—
all the fish in my stomach
are belly-up because
I fed them too much
of my own bullshit & then
I swallowed them whole—
what I mean is— despair
looks good on me
& the misery
brings out the dark
in my eyes & fuck—
I didn’t mean
for it to come to this—
I can hear you floppin’ about
in the dry dirt on the riverside
& I didn’t mean
to push you out
& away from me
but I don’t want you
to know what my grief
is capable of, it’s more
than just the blues, baby,
it’s a thick black swamp
that will drag you silently
to drown.

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:

One thought on “This Poem was Written Inside The River By Amanda Oaks

  1. I’m not gonna pretend I know what I’m talking about, but I think the contrast between someone face down in the dirt at the bottom of the river and someone flopping about on the dry riverside is brilliantly done.
    What a sad, but wonderful, poem

Leave a Reply