Crooked River Songs — Brittany Robinson

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                                                                                                  –after Withlacoochee River State Park

Withlacoochee #1

Things grow sharper,
clear cut, near the water,
the sudden/stark pond
cypresses a shock,
    a stunning juxtaposition
    against the soft edges of live oaks
curtsying in the cool green
of the park’s namesake,
which looks eighteen-carat gold
under the afternoon sun.
Where the canopy is breached
by blue sky, the river claims
a subtle chatoyancy:
the band of light in a tiger’s eye stone.
We look on from the rocky bank
as a gator surfaces, a series of gnarls
in the flow. Ten feet at least.


Withlacoochee #2


My family got lost here
once in the unmarked
woods, and I,
fearing starvation,
rationed jelly beans
berry blue
very cherry
buttered popcorn
to my mother and siblings
who, when my blistering
heels swelled,
traded me
back to back to back
but I was small.


Come afternoon
my mother began to cry,
the tracks of wild boars
all around us
lemon drop
beside the snakes
we knew were there.


we heard the distant
din of a motor,
cream soda
French vanilla,
followed it to the edge
of a field,
Dr. Pepper
and waited
as my older brother
trekked out to the tractor.
We were bid to wait.
The farmer sent for aid:
a shoddy
white sedan, coconut,
piloted by three
(or was it four?)
migrant ranch hands.
We climbed in
cotton candy,
the air was thick
chili mango,
we were packed
together with
nothing save for
Spanish music
between us
crushed pineapple.
My mother said terrified
prayers in her head
to the crucifix
hanging from
the sedan’s rearview,
and then we
were delivered.


brBrittany Leigh Robinson graduated from Saint Leo University with a BA in professional writing and recently obtained her MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. She currently works as a professional writing tutor and uses her free time to craft polymer clay pocket dragons and follow her heart.

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