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For Three Whose Reflex Was Yes

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Nobody I know is a god. A mother and son   
fall into the river's million hands, the river's   
smash and grab. They go under, climb the ropeless   
water up, wave, open their mouths and scream   
wet silences as they slide back under.   
A man jumps in to save them, leaves the edge   
as a needle into the river's muddy sinews, a woman   
jumps in to save his vanishing and the mother   
and son and is stripped by the flood, her pants   
drowning right beside her, another man jumps in   
to save them all and a woman jumps in after him   
to save them all plus one, cars arrive and people   
get out and leap into the river, the river's being filled   
with whatever's in their pockets and their hands   
and their eyes, with nickels and dollar bills   
and bibles and sunsets, the beautiful brush strokes   
of this beautifully dying day, people pile   
like a river inside the river, they keep coming   
and diving in, they keep feeding their breath   
to the water, which is less, which is thinned,   
until the mother and son rise on a mound   
of strangers and dead, the sun warming them, blessing   
their faces slowly dry.

Source: Poetry (May 2007)

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2007 issue of Poetry magazine

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For Three Whose Reflex Was Yes

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