Travelogue from the River of Lethe

Marilyn Kallet

Travelogue from the River of Lethe

The sign said, "Step in,

I wanted to shed memories
like clothes

on a summer day.
Wanted to shed time,

not tears. My choice,
toe in.

I remembered your face,
your runner’s tone,

your lure. You insisted
I was beautiful.

One toe, I told myself.
I remembered that Galway

spoke of a difficult time
finding the path through the forest

toward the end, that Bly
read everything twice.

I remembered your beauty, though
the river promised no regrets.

You were there, fishing
for the forgetful.

This time, I didn’t bite.

This poem was presented at the North American Review Writing Conference, April 21, 2019.


Marilyn Kallet

Marilyn Kallet is Knoxville Poet Laureate and the author or editor of 18 books, including seven volumes of poetry. Her most recent volume of poetry is How Our Bodies Learned (Black Widow Press, 2018). She is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee and leads workshops and residencies for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts every year at their French site in Auvillar.