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poetry by j matthew waters

sailboats on the mississippi


she’s an artist
a watercolorist to be exact
her brushes her most prized possessions

she hardly notices as I brush her hair
her mind and soul recreating sailboats
racing parallel on the mississippi
winds and currents playing havoc on canvas
fading sun filtering through cumulus clouds

I’m lost in her world
imitating master backstrokes
eventually drowning in complicated brilliance




march two thousand eighteen
copyright j matthew waters
all rights reserved

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8 thoughts on “sailboats on the mississippi

  1. I love this poem, John. It’s magnificent.

    The detail about her hair, and this: “winds and currents playing havoc on canvas” … So gorgeous.

    I like imagining that it’s about the speaker’s mother … that she has Alzheimer’s, but can still wake up the part of her brain that paints. Such a beautiful and vivid character sketch.

    I’m in awe of your skill.

  2. beautiful imagery.

  3. So gentle in its description, like floating down the river itself.

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