Sunday Nights on the River – by Beth Peterson

Sunday nights on the river

Night winds rustle in the trees
like spare change in the hand of God
on Wisconsin’s wide Flambeau River
20 long miles
from motorcycle exhaust, from closed kitchen windows
from the reticent lives we slip into
last year’s sequined gowns
now tugging at the hips
The current sways and stutters
nudged along by the marching air
by the stars in their orbits, flashing
by the darkness in its holy longing
we crouch empty on the riverbank
praying the quiet will fall on us in pieces

Beth Peterson is the author of Dispatches from the End of Ice (Trinity University Press, 2019.) A wilderness guide before she began writing, Beth has an MFA from the University of Wyoming and a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Missouri. Her essays and poems have appeared in Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Passages North, the Mid-American, and other publications. Beth lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she is an associate professor in the writing program at Grand Valley State University.

Art: “Emergence” by Sandy Coomer - 9X12, acrylic pour on claybord
Statement: I love the line “praying the quiet will fall on us in pieces.” The art depicts that slow fall of the hushed dark and the stars appearing like promises.