Poetry by Ron Riekki

             By Ron Riekki
                                                            “as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
                                                            So do our minutes hasten to their end,” --William Shakespeare, sonnet LX

The ingredients of the river used to be water,
just water, but now, lately, thanks (or not thanks,
the opposite of thanks) to a company that dumped
hexavalent chromium into the river, and the recent
severe storms that flooded wastewater into the same
river, there’s a strange foam everywhere, one that I,
relaxed, eyes closed, just floating, forgot about,
and ended up off to the side, where a collection
of those PFAs were thick, stuck to my arm, and
I paddled away, but didn’t realize until later
that the foam was still there, washed it off
quickly with the river water, got home, and
showered, thinking nothing of it until the next
day the stripe of blisters on my arm on the same

location, so I let it heal, a week, wondering if it
would go away, and it did, and the craving, as
I love rivers, so I looked up another one online,
drove two hours to get to it, brought my kayak,
but, arriving, I realized, just looking at the river,
there was no way I was risking it, a murky sludge
that didn’t match the photos online, but those
were taken years ago, and we ruin, are so good
at ruining, at creating ruins, and there, on the far
side of the river, I saw a beaver, alone, cleaning
itself, and the focus, the sheer focus, how it kept
scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing and I
stood there, so still, watching, wishing every-
thing in the world could be so different . . .

“My mother sips kale soup”
             By Ron Riekki

her hand shaking from M.S. and her face
framed so perfectly by the window, Florida,
a wedding march of clouds outside, haloing
her head, and at her feet, the dog, who my
father says, is like Gandhi, and she is, and
there’s a distant thunder, my mother saying,
Oh, I love rain, and the soup, I can tell, is good.

“My Cherie Amour”
             By Ron Riekki

comes on softly, and my father
says, That song was on the radio
on the day you were born, and he
says, You almost have the same
birthday as him, and I say that
he’s in his 70s, and he says, No,
the same month and day, and adds,
You’re both born in Michigan too,
and from the other room, my
mother adds, And Stevie Wonder’s
vegan, and we listen to him sing
about the Milky Way and my
father says, I wish I was that
talented, and I’m tired, so I lie
back on the couch, and Stevie
starts playing the harmonica
and everything feels so soft.

- Ron Riekki’s books include Blood/Not Blood Then the Gates (Middle West Press), My Ancestors are Reindeer Herders and I Am Melting in Extinction (Loyola University Maryland’s Apprentice House Press), Posttraumatic (Hoot ‘n’ Waddle), and U.P. (Ghost Road Press). Right now, Riekki’s listening to Arcade Fire & Owen Pallett's “Sleepwalker” from the Her film score.
Copyright©2023 by Ron Riekki. All Rights Reserved.