• Shawn McNulty-Kowal

The traveler’s buoyancy; riverskin

Updated: Nov 25, 2021


No one knows his person by name, or face, or gait. He travels, he rebels, there’s mystery. He practices standing up straight. He wears leather boots and airs a drumbeat through the streets. He escapes. Dines alone when hunger hits. His shoulders slacken. His stilted speech riffs. He learns that a cigarette is attitude; he’d like to give it.


Lost in Paris, he is drunk and running through Square Barye. The embankment’s lanterns shimmer and remain a summer twilight in childhood and marigold. His belly is buoyant with acid and pleading. His knees crack like broken glass. Sprinting beside and staring at the Seine, he trips over the park’s steel link fence and plunges into the whitecaps below. Cobblestone shadows the river eddies. The lanterns glower. The square is emptied.


Freedom took his feet away and he went flying. How wonderful that tomorrow, no one will know this young man who was alone, drunk, and fumbling. Submerged by all that surrounds him, drowning. His belly balloons and punctures the riverskin. His jaws snap at the wind and foam. How wonderful, no one will know this sailor traveling–down the Seine for Le Havre, the English Channel, farther. Treading in the Celtic Sea, beyond the marigold, past twilight.


Written by Shawn McNulty-Kowal




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