The Old Woman and the River

by Alicia Ostriker


on the bank of the river
I climb inside my sleeping bag
sleep is good if I am not
kept awake by coughing
the sound of the water soothes
time passes and does not pass
when I am better I will sit
and meditate for a while
there may be birds to listen to
then I will climb down the bank
and put my naked foot in the water
which will shock at first,
being so cold, so swift.

Copyright 2016, Alicia Ostriker

Alicia Ostriker’s most recent book of poems is The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog. Her most recent book of essays is Dancing at the Devil’s Party: Essays on Poetry, Politics, and the Erotic. She has been twice a finalist for the National Book Award, and teaches in the Drew University low-residency Poetry MFA program.


Prior Contents Next