“The Edge of the World” published in Vivarium, the latest issue of pacificREVIEW

I was thrilled to have my poem about hiking as a kid in the Doan Brook, AKA the Roxboro Ravine, published in the latest issue of pacificREVIEW. You can find more information here: http://pacificreview.sdsu.edu/casa1.html. I’ve included the poem below.

The Edge of the World

The muddy, shale-bottomed stream
filled with sewage after a hard rain
and mom said we couldn’t go there
because that’s where they hid the bodies.
But we went into the ravine by our house anyway,
the curtain of trees that closed behind us.
The traffic above us a whisper,
we lit firecrackers and told jokes.

1979. Black families swam upstream
into our pure white suburb.
We met them in our kindergarten classes and on the playground
like shadows we played with
until we were called back home.

Doan Brook ran through leafy gorges,
flowed underground and dumped into Lake Erie.
In our four-block world, it was in the ravine
the cops had found headless nurses,
old stone bridges crumbled
and the water was always empty.

One day we defied our parents
and walked as far as we could.
Where the trail ended, the stream plunged
into a cesspool of sticks and trash.
Then entered a tunnel four feet high
and disappeared into darkness.

My brother said he was going inside.
For a moment after he stepped in the tunnel,
stooping to fit in its slimy concrete maw,
we couldn’t see him anymore.
He’d stepped off the edge of the world.
Came out with a grin and foul-smelling shoes.



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