Placing one foot in front of the next, all tentative.
Underneath the green bridge, the river still roars.
The thicket drills through our shoes as we walk,
beckoning once more with its witch-fingers.
And I can hear the river moaning, when Tarzan tells us kids
stories about the war and the women buried beneath the river.
Why then do I feel birthed each time it takes me underwater?
Witch-fingers strip me. Under the moon light,
they blow the cold from our eyes.
One night, the two of us sneak out for a swim,
the fir trees crying like a warning.
And the river takes the girl with no remorse.
And the river spits me out with no remorse.
Afterwards, I stand with the locals on the green bridge,
Imagine her becoming. Wonder how the river emptied her out.
I think of the look on her face when she jumped, all quiet like.
I think of her streaked with sunlight, laughing.
Counting the number of times the bus swerved.
I wonder if she meant to warn me.
It is only years later, when I place one foot in front of the next
on the green bridge, that I realize.
The river below us, the mountain above. My fir. Your treetop.
Nature echoed us all along, amplified what we desired.
When I wish upon a full moon,
I always get what I ask for even if it turns my world to shit.
I wonder if she’s down there, watching me from below.
Reminding me to count my echoes.
Telling me: this world is a reflection.
I want to press my palm against the waves.
Tell her I’m keeping count.
Mitali Singh is seventeen years old. She often draws inspiration from the natural world, and enjoys spending time outdoors. Her work has previously appeared in Canvas Literary Journal.