How To Read Whitewater in the Mid-Atlantic Region


How to Read Whitewater in the Mid-Atlantic Region

by Kimberly Andrews


Here’s the gift, the undetermined, toothy space in which it bubbles

up crazily, thrashing around and telling you incessantly about


the nature of possibility: these terrible courtships, in other words,

you’ve had with rivers, their greenish syntax letting all the silk


slip to the floor. Susquehanna, Lehigh, Youghigheny, their stolen

clauses, the low trees trailing their fingers as if to say there now


river, there now. And in the little canoe, you sound out each line

in turn. This is the side of you that is full of eagles. The story


unfolds in several keenly observed parts: eddies in their indecision.

Standing waves like stacks of letters, each signed fondly.


Undercut rocks against which the water boils low and smooth,

dangerous in the same way that simplicity is dangerous—


You read for answers because the painted ceiling above you

demands a key to its own reflection. You read for the sluice


because you are normal: you ask for directions, you are

standard in that finally, you favor the tongue harbored between


the wide-set molars, the sunlight bouncing off of a body

shaped like allowance, like the valleys you dare to call your home.

Kimberly Quiogue Andrews is a poet and literary critic. She is also the author of A Brief History of Fruit, winner of the 2018 Akron Prize for Poetry and forthcoming from the University of Akron Press, and BETWEEN, winner of the 2017 New Women’s Voices Prize from Finishing Line Press. She lives in Maryland and teaches at Washington College, and you can find her on Twitter at @kqandrews.