The 2River View 22.2 (Winter 2018)

Andrew Cox

Hot Springs Said Call Me When You Come Up for Air

The boy splashed into bed and sank as Hot Springs offered no backstory 
as it turned the mattress into one of its black lakes          The water embraced the sheets

and led them in a dance that parents will never know          The water flowed
in and out of the boy’s ears bringing with it his father’s voice and his mother’s

lullabies          His lungs and his hair let the water know they were not enemies and could keep
a secret           Hot Springs relished in being an unreliable narrator

reluctant to explain why the water came in the form of a boy’s mattress          The Chicago Seven
did not know the boy would be taught by the water

to understand the power of voice overs and how the camera was groping history in its lens
Hot Springs chose a leap year to introduce the boy to water

as the Battle of Khe Sanh would add itself to the future’s evening news and his mother became
a wingless bird who could fly          Hot Springs refused

to provide details why it had to be the water that made the boy’s blue eyes beacons in a lake’s
bottom or why his father grew smaller in the eyes of the sky

The water let the boy swim with joy while Martin Luther King, Jr.'s assassination seeped under
every front door in America          Hot Springs knew it was pure genius

to choose water and its ability to be interpreted by no one the boy could swim to and ask for
help          Ho Chi Minh would never know the boy was rising upwards

to his mother’s lap where he would lay his head and understand the water came to teach him
about night sweats and the depths he had travelled so far

In Hot Springs Bipolar Brings with it Bad Weather

Big sky said let’s knock the birds from the trees
And when I opened the door
I remembered the time
We were in the car with our mother

And the rain said let’s make these wipers
Work hard for a living
And the backseat said these three kids
Will know nothing of the tornado

There in the distance
Where it skips across the tabletop land
And gathers roofs for its collection
And the deer in the middle of the road

Stares at the headlights and says
Bipolar brings with it bad weather
And Hot Springs said I will not be what you hoped for
There are always others

Big sky said I am too busy to hear all these voices
And the mother is too busy
Gripping the wheel of a car in a storm
And the three kids are too busy in the backseat

To understand about the deer
Or why Hot Springs cares nothing about
Neurotransmitters or why a stranger
Will pull a trigger when I open the door

Andrew Cox is the author of The Equation that Explains Everything, Fortune Cookies, and the hypertext chapbook Company X. He edits The UCity Review.

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