How I Lost the River
Katarina Boudreaux

We listened then
for the ancestors
in the river.

Daddy Wolf showed
us how the Grandmother
trees could speak to us.

His eyes were like
the saucers we spilled
milk into for the animals
he could call.

Spirit Blue he called me,
and Little Tree was Gold
though he liked silver more.

Secrets lived on the path
to the woods and we held them
between our teeth in high water.

It was the only education needed,
but then our limbs grew and
our eyes popped larger than
the canopies of our trees.

My blue faded to white,
and the gold left Little Tree
once the poison entered his mouth.

He saved the glass bottles
and made a fence of them
to ward off spirits.

I forgot the sky and smelled
subway as home for the years
I spent underground.

When Daddy Wolf passed,
I felt the earth weep,
but I could not weep with it.

My tears were no longer
of water but of what is
left when a river dries up.

Katarina Boudreaux is a writer, musician, composer, tango dancer, and teacher — a shaper of word, sound, and mind. She returned to New Orleans after circuitous journeying. New work is forthcoming in Euphemism and YAY!LA. Her website is

Return to Table of Contents