Now that they are in the last throes of
how they have come to know the world
the sons have no idea what to do with their mother,
so they rig a raft from storm debris
and set her adrift. For awhile,
like most inventions, this sort of works.
Then bindings slack, the raft breaks apart
and the mother trudges to the other side, ankled
in a stew: clay and carp and chemo.
Come across, Boys, her whole body seems to say, waving,
though they can’t tell if she’s holding a flag
or drowned cat.
The mother waves, the sons stay.
Between the day rolls over like a body
in a wet rug. Come across, Boys. Come across.
She knows they will Good sons.
And when they do, wading with a giant mirror,
they make the mirror a river,
tie their limbs and torsos together.
All three floating now
down a river that will empty them, filling
the valley with the creaking song their bodies make.
172 The Paris-American
Prior to joining the faculty at Ramapo College of New Jersey, James Hoch taught at Lynchburg and Franklin and Marshall. He has worked as a dishwasher, cook, dockworker, social worker and shepherd. His poems have appeared in POETRY, Washington Post, American Poetry Review, Slate, Kenyon Review, New England Review, Virginia Quarterly Review and many others. His book, A Parade of Hands, won the Gerald Cable Award and was published in March 2003 by Silverfish Review Press. His second book, Miscreants, appeared in 2007 from WW Norton. He has received fellowships from the NEA(2007), Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers conferences, St Albans School for Boys, Summer Literary Seminars, and was the 2008 Resident Poet at The Frost Place and the 2008 Steinhardt Visiting Writer at Rutgers-Newark and is Guest Faculty at Sarah Lawrence. He resides with his wife and sons in Garrison, NY and Seattle, WA.
Next week's poet:
Sarah Rose NordgrenJJCCCACc