Jessie Zechnowitz Lim
Following My Daughter Upstream
Yes, I would like to slip quietly into a lazy river,
to float downstream, buoyed by a swan-shaped
raft with a beer in one hand.
I don’t really care where it takes me,
that it has no tributary or delta. Lazy
rivers go in circles, if you’re familiar.
But more than anything, I want to be with you,
and you’d rather swim. So I haul my
swan to shore, chug, and dive. You are long
muscles rippling water off the back. You are drawn
upriver, up through the damned
rocky edges of dangerous intention and sinister
chance. Up over waterfalls of asphalt and past
trees that scrape the sky. You flick your angry tail
when the gentle current is pounded into a foaming rage.
You foment, you struggle. We all begin to churn.
We are mindful of this water
that controls the flow, how it gushes femicide
and rolls deadly against the bottom. You are now
we, and we are swimming up to the source,
up to the mountain top. We are going
to swim inside and rapid it
all back down into the openness of the
ocean, our salt will melt the snow.
Jessie Zechnowitz Lim is a florist by day, poet by night, and a mom all the time living in California on unceded Ohlone land. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in The Chestnut Review, California Quarterly, Kestrel, The Indianapolis Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, The Bold Italic, Mother Mag, and others.