Fall 2005 • Vol. XXVII No. 4 Poetry |

The Idea of Crocodiles

i have spent a good portion of my adult life observing the connection between thought and suffering, between the mind's ability to imagine and hold onto an idea in memory, and the inherent fear which drives that process. For example, we are in Lake Village on a bayou, a body of water left by the Arkansas River as it meandered toward the Mississippi then changed its mind and took another route but left behind this idea of a river, the memory of it. We are preparing to swim in it when the old black man fishing near us says, They's crocs in there. How do you know, i quiz him? Seen one once, he replies and that is that. We do not go in. i don't ask him how long ago he saw one, it would not matter if it was 50 years, and only one, and it long dead, because the imagination has got hold of it and now the crocodiles exist and we are afraid of them.

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i have spent a good portion of my adult life observing the connection between thought and suffering, between the mind's ability to imagine and hold onto an idea in memory, […]

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