Gin River

If the Neuse River was gin
we would’ve drunk to its bottom,

its two-million-year-old currents,
shad, sunfish, redhorse, yellow lance,

All the blood from the Tuscarora War. 

We would have drunk it all,
aunts and uncles would have led us in Big Bill Broonzy’s 
“When I Been Drinking,”

until everything inside us began to dance 
and we all joined in,

silt around our ankles,
everyone kicking sand. 

From River Hymns (Copper Canyon Press, 2017) by Tyree Daye. Copyright © 2017 by Tyree Daye. Used with the permission of the author.