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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 20: 15 Sept. 2023
Prose Poem: 140 words
By Susan Starbird



I wanted to see the drought. I wanted to see the bottom of the river, exposed and parched, a pool of tadpoles here or there, thirsty for the first autumn storm. I wanted to walk the riverbed that I have seen only from above, to feel with my toes the mounds and pockets of gravel and boulder that inform the water’s surface that I know so well.

I wanted to see the drought, so I went to the river in my muck-walking, puddle-shuffling, rock-hopping, silt-stalking, swimming shoes. And to my shock and disappointment the river was wet. Young plant shoots lashed in the current and water whispered over the shoals. Fed continuously by the government’s dam, the river lied to me about the drought. Be honest, I wanted to say. Be true, I demanded. Unable to walk, I swam.

Susan Starbird
Issue 20 (September 2023)

is the author, designer, and publisher of Susan the Magazine (https://susanthemagazine.com/). Her work has appeared in Unbroken and West Marin Review. She lives in Northern California.

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