The river in winter looks a mile wide and an inch deep. No ice on it. Clapboard and battenboard structures lean toward the corrugated silver flux, but none are about to fall in. I’ve crossed this stone-arch bridge many times on foot, slinking from the college to the coffee shop where a famous poet clutched his notebook and passed out with a sigh. Trying to revive him, I inadvertently inhaled his breath and saw huge worms devouring the cosmos. He revived, but I didn’t. And now those worms have strangled my heart so I can’t love the landscapes I used to love.
The river groans over pebbles, sacrificing itself for the sake of gravity. That famous poet has gone back to Pennsylvania where we’re all going to die. I wish I were in Philadelphia in a sleazy bar sipping a pint of decent ale. Maybe the streets there aren’t as slick as in this cubic little college town. Maybe the crimes of the cosmos don’t involve huge greasy worms that sneak through open pores to strangle one’s favorite organs. The cosmos isn’t inside me, but I ‘m digesting it anyway, the worms writhing and my stomach churning the way the river churns over dams and waterfalls before smelting itself in the sea.