R.A. Villanueva: As the river crests, mud-rich with  

   forgotten things

               Colors this summer Raritan
carries: of this flailing, flaring New
               Jersey sunset     of the burnt-ends of cigarettes
as they     and gravity          then the river kiss
               Red’s surge toward night-
fall: a dark diastole     rich with the blood
               of pigeons, worms, catfish—a mercury blood,
heavy with gas                    This orange Raritan
               This drunk, Dutch princess     flanked as if by knights:
trunks bent, leadened with her forgotten things     they knew
               tomorrow would bring nothing     but kisses
of moss     feasts of cigarettes
               and pistols, denim and pulp               All sick at rest
with silt in the roots, their shallowed blood,
               bruised corpuscles kiss
only the light left, only the ache     for some life rarer than
               this, apart from the current’s slurs and weights               New
moon—pulsing yellow muscle of the night-
               to-be—flexes along each surface: driftwood night-
stands, a kingdom of algae, ash-nests of cigarettes—
               even the vertebrae of gulls aglow     as henna-brown canoe
hulls, course past blood-
               oranges, pockets of glass, a Samaritan
mold                    And as the bitter, mosquito kiss

               of evening ebbs in, its shifts and shadows kiss
every branch, every veined leaf and weed: night-
               shade, poison oak, sumac root          orangutan
vines of ivy along the banks awash in cigarette
               fog, ripe with tar                    And now as how blood

clots to black, the river thickens tints: its platelets of news-
               paper ink               shake-songs of newt
throats and cricket shanks kissing
               the growing murk                         Here freon blood’s
systolic pump through fridge coils, these night-
               sticks beached among trestles, cigarettes’
leach and slush: all lullaby the muck               This Raritan—

               this hematite sinew          moth-swollen nightingale
ventricle kissed with charcoals, cigarette
               papers—its blood-dyed roar, return



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