Autumn Sky Poetry . . . Number 14 . . .

6 a.m., North Shore

     by Jen McClung

gave my sadness
to the river this morning

before all the traffic began
before all the people went
walking with their dogs
before the sun was
high enough to be bright,

sat at the edge
of something bigger than
this sorrow and watched
the way the water carried
tiny sticks and tree trunks,
maybe away
from where they were rooted

before the city began
on its hushed trajectory,
opened my hands
and poured what I had
into the passing current

poured out
blood red heart stuff —
bitter endings
a freshly dead wish

poured the most
beautifully bruised
shade of grief
my hands could hold

poured every last bit
into the big, slow waters
and begged the river,
color of decayed leaves
and forest floor,
to carry these things, too,
maybe away
from where I am rooted.

Jen McClung is a Pushcart-nominated poet, a finalist in the Creative Nonfiction/W.W. Norton Program-Off, and an avid fiction writer as well. Her work appears in journals like The Cartographer Electric! and Hayden’s Ferry Review, and in anthologies like TalkingImageConnection’s Floating Worlds and Skinny Rabbit Press’ If Solitude Inspires. In addition to her writing, Jen is a singer/songwriter with two albums and a long list of live performances, and several of her paintings can be found at

© 2009 Jen McClung