The Moya View

River Ooze

Image: Lena Altshul

Even though she couldn’t swim,
Lena would go down to the river.
She wore a blue bathing suit
and carried a pink swim ring.

She would awkwardly dip
her tiny feet in the current
and feel its cold sting
on her tiny ankles and toes.

As the water grew warmer
she would go further
until the swim ring floated
freely above her chest.

There was a green-brown ooze
that ran perpendicular to what
looked like the shallow part
of the river that caught her eye.

Her feet touched the bottom easily
and her shoulders were still above
the water. She felt she could go
comfortably farther without the ring.

She tested it. She let go of the ring,
plunged into the water, pushed her
her feet off the bottom and emerged
safely, securely through the pink circle.

She moved a little bit further,
let go off the ring and tried to
push her feet off and couldn’t.
Beneath her, just watery deep.

Lena reached for the ring,
It had floated downstream.
She screamed. Water and mud
in her mouth drowned it out.

The foul river ooze was choking her,
suffocating her. She was sinking.
She hoped someone would see her,
prayed someone would see, hear her.

A glint of yellow suddenly appeared.
A stranger in a yellow cap, one too
small to contain his head, had grabbed
her hand and tugged her to the shore.

He put the yellow cap on Lena’s head,
placed the pink swim ring down her body.
He smiled. Patted her head. Smiled at her, again.
And disappeared suddenly as he appeared.





2 responses to “River Ooze”

  1. Nicole Smith Avatar

    Thank God, I thought Lena was about to drown.


    The fact that you thank God she doesn’t drown hints at the allegory that is going on beneath the drowning surface. God has very much everything to do with the final result in the poem.
    Thanks for the comment.

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