Ran with Scott downtown this afternoon. With the wind, it was cold enough that I had goosebumps before we started. My legs felt heavy and strange. Plodding along. I remember it being hot at Boom Island with no shade and loud on Plymouth–music coming from some sort of festival. They’re setting up for an art festival this weekend. Extra porta potties were everywhere and scaffolding too. Lots of tourists and segways and motorized scooters. Some other runners. A huge log jammed in the river near Nicollet island. Scott and I wondered how far it had traveled from up river? Running over the Stone Arch Bridge, I looked down at Mill Ruins Park and saw emerald green grass. Felt the spray from the falls, carried by the wind.
Here’s a poem about the Missississippi River from Bao Phi, a poet from Minneapolis.
M I S S I SS I PP I
M I SS I SS I PP I
M I SS I SS I –
the elementary teacher roared, and my delight at the staccato flow of the letters
This was over thirty years ago – I don’t hold her ghost to grudge.
How many times have I sat above that water, walked beside it
and wondered about its history all
the while taking for granted
I could spell its name.
The first time I saw its tail was after Katrina,
the wide water in New Orleans,
the houses drowned, and yet Vietnamese ate trays of boiled crawdad
tipping skinny neck bottles of Tabasco,
squeezed lemon slices until they bled out.
Somewhere some river is always running
and who chooses to run beside what river in what country,
and who gets sent down them.
Me and my teenage friends, we found a rotted railroad bridge,
climbing over its barriers, the no trespassing sign,
sat with our legs dangling over but hugging the round cylinder iron guardrails
laughing with one another as the brown and white foam curled far beneath us.
For many years I thought if I ever had a child I would
name them Song, river, but in my language
which makes the word sound like
So I did.
And she does.
Just this past year I learned of Bdote,
the concentration camps now a green field.
In a canoe, my daughter and a teacher
slowly sliced our way across its green gray skin
we three floating in history
water to some, blood to others
a part of everything
belonging to no one