The river in my city turns fast and muddy. The time of year is wrong. Nobody can explain it, scientists or otherwise. Anemic ice spreads on the mountains, and waterfalls in the strangled canyons to the south spit dry, but in the river, water we can’t account for is coming from places we can’t find or haven’t thought to look.
I drive over the bridge where it spans the flushed river. Today, as every day, I consider where the cracks will appear and the order of the collapse. Today, as most days, I’d prefer that the infrastructure hold off crumbling because I am thinking about him, but there’s one more thing, too: progress.
He had taken off his galoshes to ford a river made of runoff when there was a bridge. While he ruined his shoes, I walked over with dry feet and hated him.
I knuckle my way across an insane merge. My right wrist and hand are cheery enough to wave in the transparent space between the seats. Thank you! My right wrist and hand belie nothing; this is how I know I can trust my body.
Often I want to drink again because destruction is more intimate than most things I’ve experienced. I would hold the boombox under his window but the risk of my insincerity is too great, so I’ll spare us.
Traffic comes to a complete stop on the bridge. I am in the rocking topmost seat of the Ferris wheel. The space between me and the water is catastrophic.
In the river, piles of debris catch one another and crowd up. The water spills over to make them bob and I can’t stop startling, certain that I’m seeing a river animal, a turning tree, a limb, a person, any of the thousand endless marvels spit up by a fast, muddy river. What I say to the rearview mirror when I catch it is that you should wash your face before you get there. Be gentler with the hot cloth next time, press it on tender.