The River Knows
In honor of the Cuyahoga River
The river knows that poor people never change.
The river knows they love her because
generations later they still
bring their children to visit her
like an old family friend,
even though they must be wary now
when she kisses their cheeks
and says, “I’ve missed you.
Look how big you’ve gotten.”
The river knows the poor people are sorry when she burns,
when she swells and shrinks trying to keep up
with all that’s thrown at her, in her.
The river knows they can’t help because they are burning too.
The river knows why I cry into her supposedly fresh water
and will defend her until there’s nothing left to defend.
She knows how deeply the phrase:
“It’s not much but it’s ours”
runs through our veins.
How she isn’t really ours,
we are hers. She is home
and this too will never change.
Anastasia Simms (she/her) is a third-year honors student at Kent State University studying English, Psychology, and Creative Writing. She works at the KSU Writing Commons, Wick Poetry Center, Brainchild Magazine, and New American Press. She has previously been published by the Red Cedar Review. Anastasia loved getting the chance to write about the place she grew up and honor all it means for this anthology. As always, she hopes that her writing will positively impact others just as the written word has always done for her.