West Second Street, Oswego, 1986 by Marybeth Rua-Larsen

West Second Street, Oswego, 1986

I remember the walk more
than the movie. Your birthday,
your choice, you’d said, and it was

a luxury to lock our front door behind us,
follow the sidewalk downtown.
We stopped first at the river,

watched the moon back-stitch its silver
through the surface while the carp,
those golden outsiders never intending

to stay, rolled beneath then rose,
open-mouthed, gaping like the family
we’d left behind. Every step past

the flickering marquee, its dim bulbs framing
Pretty in Pink, was ghost-lit, and creeping
to the farthest, darkest seats,

we whispered all through the movie –
how easily carp learn moving water,
how salt lingers on the tongue

waiting for relief. After the film arced
at the prom dress, all polka dots and bare
shoulders, the momentary spark

before it drifted away, we walked
home, passing a shadow of narcissus
in a stranger’s garden. The moon hid

this time, fooled by a mask of clouds,
and with your arms around me, we paused, again,
at the river, listened as wave after small wave

spilled its troubles on the shore,
chanting I won’t let go, I won’t let go,
I won’t let go.

by Marybeth Rua-Larsen, first published in Poetry and Art: an exhibition of contemporary poetry and responsive art

Editor’s Note: Delicious imagery details an emotional moment, but by the end of the poem, the reader is convinced that this moment still exists, thirty-two years later.


One response to “West Second Street, Oswego, 1986 by Marybeth Rua-Larsen”

  1. Siham Karami Avatar

    Delicious indeed. The poem itself is alive, brings the reader into that time and place, and how wonderful it is.

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