Hocking River falls

The Hocking River is seen, with the falls near White’s Mill pictured in the distance.

Editor’s note: April is National Poetry Month. To celebrate, we’ve invited Athens Poet Laureate Wendy McVicker to share some poems with The Athens Messenger. We hope you enjoy them just as much as we do.

Respect the River

I told those boys

we saw roaming

the bank, looking

for a way in,

to respect a river

in flood, its speed

and strength, its

unpredictability.

It’ll buck you off

like a wild bronco.

Maybe they listened.

Maybe the lost one,

the one the rescue

crews still seek

with their dogs

and slow trawling,

is not one of them,

not one I’ve known

since childhood.

Surely he’s someone’s

childhood friend,

someone’s son.

We know he’s gone,

in every way

that matters.

This morning, the river

is quiet, mud-flattened

grasses along the bank

attesting to its reach.

Red-winged blackbirds flit

from reed to reed.

Wendy McVicker

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