Issue 51 is on its way to subscribers this week! We’re very happy to feature so many brilliant writers, including Mónica Gomery, whose upcoming poetry collection, Might Kindred, won the Raz-Shumaker Prairie Schooner Book Prize and is forthcoming from University of Nebraska Press. Congratulations, Mónica! Here’s a sneak peak of one of Mónica’s poems featured in the new Third Coast. Stay tuned for more selections from the Issue 51 as it makes its way into the world!
I went down to the river, the light made plaid with trees. I knelt beside the river, felt its broiling motion. The sky a net.
I saw him there. My ancestor. Curious with bones, long limbed. He stepped out from behind a tree. He looked at me with undemanding eyes. Upturned his palms.
The river churned and babbled. Chortled. Gushed. The river sang its swelling song, its onward song, its carrying the weather song. The river carried anything I gave it, and so I gave some things.
I did not give it folded bits of paper. Instead I gave the river muddy blue, that blue that lives inside me. Wetness cupped between the bulbs of my two shoulders.
I leaned forward, poured out blue, and gave it to the river.
So often too afraid to become an out-loud living person in this century. Blue pouring out.
The confusion I have felt; the trades my people made for safety; someone else’s grief. Blue sifting into blue.
I gathered all that murky water, its silt and darkened turquoise swirling. I tipped it toward the river, poured it in as best I could.
The river shimmered back at me, it ate my fear and shame. The sky alive inside the river. The stones clapped and rocked against the water.
My ancestor, long oval face and broomstick fingers, watched. Not with a smile and not without a smile.
The river ate my water and rushed its ruffled skirts downstream. The river silk and mesh and tulle and linen, water weaving as it ate my water, careened my water, and kept on rivering away from me.
I didn’t know if time was moving forward or backward along the river’s trail. I didn’t know if the water I gave it traveled toward the future or the past.
I looked at my ancestor who looked at me. I looked at the purpling sky. I looked at my knees, browned against the river’s edge. I knew somewhere the river would meet the sea, blue becoming salt becoming bluer.
I waited for something to speak my name. And because everything around me was my name, it did.