Home >> Volume 4, Issue 01

Canoeing to the Underworld1

Lawrence Hetrick

Tornadoes laid the long trunks down
Across the river. Over, under,
Between, around, we haul our boat.

After four days hauling, we know
We are doom-devoted. After five,
The river upside down, we slide

Under drowned leaves into cavern
Where flames drip, shadows smoke,
And dark closes like jaws behind us.

Shadow countenances crowd us,
Telling our unlikely futures
That we should believe but can’t.

Under their coats more shadows snuggle,
Their unlived lives that look like pets,
Round-eyed and furry, with pointed teeth.

Perhaps we’d like to take one home?
Oh no, we’re leaving now, all done
Feeding blood to shadows so they speak.

1This poem appeared in an earlier version in Lawrence Hetrick’s recent book of poetry,  Derelict Tributaries, Anhinga Press.