Mr Prewars Nice Day

Water Traffic

by Jim Christy


Kids at the water park, giggling
On the slides, laughing
In a wave pool, yelling
Up the Lazy River

Young parents and grandmothers in the shade
Guarding knapsacks and picnic snacks. Others
Under the frond woven roof of a bar
On pilings over the real mudbank
River. The detritus of jungle rushing
By on a brown current, as if eager
To become islands. There are stolid
Barges and tugs like old draught horses;
Flaking-paint scows with mysterious
Prow symbols in fresh vermillion.

Just out a ways, mines popped out
The port side of the Baton Rouge
That I wasn’t on. The two men
Over there, one one-armed,
Were also 21 or 22 that year.
They’re playing a tabletop game
With caps from all the BGIs
They drank today.

Brown water between gaps
Of foot-wide floor boards appears
To be hiding from the rain
Now pattering the river out there
Like desultory rifle fire.
The inevitable available girl, jiggling her top
Foot in a white shoe is perched
On the dragon edge of the corn plant.
Bare arms and bare legs, barely older
Than water-park kids, and as old
As the river traffic. And now thunder
Rumbles like a distant barrage.