as a river

Honorable Mention: 2023 Sandy Crimmins Poetry Contest


some people see gender as a line

but I see it as a river


yes the river may travel from one point to another

but little streams and creeks

tributaries and estuaries branch off here and there and wherever

trickling down hills and mountains until the summer melts snow into a showering waterfall

feeding into lakes and oceans

or creating new rivers of their own when it rains and floods


maybe the terrain at the mouth differs from that of the tail

and maybe from the sky there is little difference at all


a deer may hold no preference along the entire length of the river banks

but a dragonfly may live solely in one pocket of reeds

and neither is more precious or damned for it


some may find themselves lodged firmly in place

others mistaken for a rock when they are indeed a tree root


perhaps a stone once thought immovable

erodes to reveal sparkling sediment present the entire time


you may consider me like the deer

leisurely traipsing along the water

stopping the longest in the middle where the grass is most ambiguous


or maybe you think me a duck

paddling along with the current

dabbling in the mud and pebbles and preening my feathers wherever I please

until I grow tired of wetness and fly


but me, I think I am the silt itself

mineral deposits from stars outside

fallen from the clouds and swirling with the water

shimmering my way into every last fingernail and dendrite of the river

blown across the dry prairies and carried by the wind

settling into the seas and swept up by hurricanes until I rejoin the cirrus

and gently dance back down as snowflakes on a mountaintop

waiting for the sun

Corinne is a comic artist and watercolorist currently pursuing a Comics MFA at the California College of the Arts. You can view their work on instagram @corinneiskorean. This is their first published poem.