My unreliable memory
is waking me up at night,
forcing me to look at the thumbprint bruises
inside my arms
and to think about that moment
right before it went completely dark
when the stream gurgled
and the water started to come apart
until I swear I could see every tiny
atom of hydrogen and oxygen.
Each molecule was separating
with the pop of plucked violin strings
so I didn’t notice that I had gone out too far
that my bare feet were coming out from under me
and that I was falling
or that I was wingless
or that I might not get out of this one alive.
In my head there was just the screeching hiccup
of an old record needle scratching vinyl.
There was a ghost howling.
But nothing more.
I was changed into the girl that drowned.
Drenched, wretched, hung.
Sodden and bloody.
And wholly unsalvageable.
Going back to the falls, years later
led to car accidents
twisted heaps of metal, beads of broken glass.
my mother screaming,
“There are some places you shouldn’t go.”
Places that feed on your fearlessness.
Places that light fires on the water’s edge.
Places that rush with noise in the dark quiet forest.
Places that your unreliable memory won’t let you forget.
Places that might actually try to kill you.
4 hours ago