ALONG THE RUSSIAN RIVER, LATE MARRIAGE
The silence a crushed space, you stood, cast
eyes to rocky ground beneath you. Fingers
in pockets a familiar anchor—you twisted,
bent, found the smooth, flat stone, considered
its weight. The cocked arm, finger and thumb
lassoed round its girth, then snap of wrist—this
ancient, ordinary move—to sail stone across
river’s murmur and slur. One. Two. Sink. Again.
One. Two. Sink. Again. The stone must be
flat. The stone must be round, tumbled by time’s
steady seep and flow. Pile them up. Test
their heft. At the river, there is no sand. We lay
on the stones, warm beneath us, the surprise
of their heavy comfort something we both
understood. You wanted a cluster of success.
You wanted stone to sing its way across
the water. Eyes shielded from the sun, to watch
was its own penance. Didn’t we know the weight
of those stones we’d carried? They’d stacked
on our backs for years, while we lingered
for someone to reach out—give them a toss.
Julia Chiapella’s poetry has appeared in Edison Literary Review, I-70 Review, Midwest Quarterly, OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters, Pirene’s Fountain, The Wax Paper, and West Branch among others. She co-founded Santa Cruz Writes to enhance literary opportunities for Santa Cruz County, California, residents. The former director of the Young Writers Program, which she established in 2012, Julia received the Gail Rich Award for creative contributions to Santa Cruz County.