by J.G. McClure

The town went to the river to drown. Their despair was too great; it was the only way. The townsfolk lined the banks, filled their pockets up with stones. Our despair is too great, they said. It is the only way. The children had brought great coils of rope; they bound the elders’ arms and then their own. The town stood on the bank, alone with what must be done. Months passed, years.

At last the town is ready. We are ready, say the children, grown older now. Let us drown, say the elders, grown tired and more gray. But by now the river has gone dry.

The town descends to the river’s bed. They lie down against the hard red clay. Each neighbor holds a neighbor’s hand. Overhead, the dead trees sway.

Let us pray now for rain, the children say. Yes, now let us pray.


J.G. McClure holds an MFA from the University of California – Irvine. His poems appear in Best New Poets 2015, Gettysburg Review, Green Mountains Review, and The Southern Poetry Anthology, among others. He is the Craft Essay Editor and Assistant Poetry Editor of Cleaver, and is at work on his first collection. Read more at

Leave a comment

Filed under Poetry

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s