The Small River in the Gutter

The Small River in the Gutter

The Small River in the Gutter 4025 2293 Alexandre Ferrere

There is this small river
shaped like a gutter
near my childhood home.
It runs along a centenarian railroad,
made of dry wood (with funny knots in it).

Walking the same rusty rails,
near the small river:
years have passed:

bumblebees buzzing around

with their yellow holy halos

of important pollen;


the jolly grasshoppers

basking in delight

in hardy sunny grass;


small bushes growing

here and there quietly

sheltering little lives.


the marvelous scent

of clear waters, tadpoles,

lizards and salamanders.


all the treasures

of simplicity when it’s summer

and you’re ten years old.


the strange apple tree

hidden from adults,

known only of young insiders.


all improvised buckets:

bags, half-bottles, old pans,

to keep frogs safe at home.


rumors of dangerous snakes,

bravely hunted down,

though never found.


the odd


of brown metal




(the city-snake ate me raw)

Now there’s moss

in the dried-up gutter.

It looks like

a pitiful half-tube.

All aroud is war:

Rocks, stones, torn iron bars, orange rusty wires, hideous construction site abandoned like an unwanted child, brambles threatening and stifling the railroad, dirty polystyrene, slabs, a dead stray cat, glass, disused signs, washed out obscene magazines, disgusting bags, electric cables, empty alcohol cans like a junky Hansel’s breadcrumbs, sand, dead wood slaughtered, caps, papers that used to be important, water bottles that don’t quench any thirst, fragments of plastics, deserted shells, night-time shadows in full day.

In my solitude,
I saw a small violet.

Header photograph © Jason D. Ramsey.

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