Francine Witte

The River’s Wife

Each night, I ask him if he still loves me. He tells me
instead how he started, handfuls of rain and mountain streams,
how it trickled into a muscled flow. I ask him again and that’s
when he goes back to hiss and spin. I give up and head home,
lonely, cutting my feet on scraggs of rocks and fallen twigs.

Some nights I wake up, go to the kitchen turn on the faucet
full blast. Waterfingers lacing my own. My father warned me,
said that the river is made up of tears from all the fish that never
made it out to sea. He said he was a river once, a foaming, raging
twist of a man who lured my mother from the banks, how she gave

up, girl-like, to his tumble and roar. How I, myself, am part river,
how if I listen close enough, I can hear the whoosh
that is louder than the beating of my heart.


Francine Witte’s poetry collections include Café Crazy and The Theory of Flesh (Kelsay Books) and Some Distant Pin of Light (forthcoming from Cervena Barva Press, 2023,) as well as chapbooks Not All Fires Burn the Same (2016 first prize winner, Slipstream,) and First Rain (Pecan Grove Press.) She is also a flash fiction writer. She lives in NYC.