River Rappahannock Jeffrey Winter Poetry

local_library River Rappahannock

by Jeffrey Winter

Published in Issue No. 191 ~ April, 2013


Some have stood flapping on the bridge’s edge with their cars still

running behind them, resolved to jump,

to shatter themselves against its surface

and make its cyclonic approach the last thing they see on earth.


I’ll admit that the river would make a nice final image,

but I’d rather it happen by accident.




Boys fish with their fathers from the trees

and their rambunctious, collared dogs do obeisance while

slaking nagging thirsts at its bends.

I envision it from high above:

A long, silver, illegible signature

on a still-drying document; the surrounding

space bristling with bright particles constantly

repositioning themselves. I try to imagine it

in the days before the commonwealth,

before we colonists came to wade in, belly first,

sunglasses dangling from our necks

by neon-green tubes. I can’t see it.




Cars pass by above, each one sounding like a gasp.

The old women opposite me

rip their blankets, bandage-wise, from the bank

and depart in high dudgeon.

They have heard too much cursing today.

My last look at the river before I head off to work

is cut short by a crisp salvo of metallic pops.

I look to the left and I see him, see the flowers

blooming ugly on his shorts and the thick trail

of black fur that obscures his navel and leads

south into his straining waistband.

I see the three tall boys squeezed fizzing between his thighs,

hear his wet ass bray against the hot rubber

of the inner tube as he settles in for a long trip toward the Chesapeake.


Take me now, I mutter, closing my eyes as the current

spins him slowly away from me.


Please, please take me now.

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Jeffrey Winter is an English student at University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He lives there with his wife and two children. This is his first publication.