Spring 2008 • Vol. XXX No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 2008 |

River Pilgrims

I'm the one who's raw. I'm the one learning the river's silt and scum, how the sediment floats but the muck and mire sink. Sister Elizabeth, what did the asphalt confess? The yellow fumes, the pink fumes, the squat white tanks hoarding alien fuel: my exhausted portents! I'm the pom-pom girl of the current apocalypse, half-gone, all-gone, carcinogenic cloud. The loons, grease-slick in the Hackensack, go red-eyed with loon-cries. • • Sister Elizabeth, who will dry your dewy brow? Winter never started and the chorus girls, the chorus girls, are jubilant pears.           Can you do the can-can, the sleight-of-hand, the slightly out-of-date grandstand? God's in the soccer field. He's in your messenger bag deleting your stump speech. Like the rain, he's all nevermind. I have two Bartlett pears and a Chinese umbrella. Let's go. • • I loved my errors senseless and was not sisterly. Do you forgive? I don't. Look what concrete makes: A beige cake.

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.
Photo of Jennifer Chang

Jennifer Chang is the author of The History of Anonymity (University of Georgia Press, 2008) and Some Say the Lark (Alice James Books, 2017), which received the William Carlos Williams Award in 2018. Her work has recently appeared in The Best American Poetry 2022, The American Poetry Review, A Public Space, The Yale Review, and Poetry, and she has been awarded the Levinson Prize by the Poetry Foundation and fellowships by MacDowell and Hewnoaks Artist Residency. She is the poetry editor of New England Review and teaches at the University of Texas at Austin. Her new book, An Authentic Life, is forthcoming this fall from Copper Canyon Press.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.