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  • Bethany Rivers

Your Map

By Bethany Rivers

(After Louise Gluck)


Destinations are unclear and million-fold. I have to find ‘end’

on the map. It’s usually another beginning. A solitary ‘A’

of not knowing, trying to find its own Z, when I hear my father’s voice:

my death is not your map, you have to find your own key.


I’m heading for the centre, I think – or is that where I begin?

The centre doesn’t feel real at all. You can’t see the centre

of an unclear destination. Through a door of star magnolia flowers,

there is life. I hear pigeons coo, full throated. They come with meaning.

They know me well. They’re here to guide. They know I’m still stuck at A.


Out on the winding roads of Wales, there are no memories of you.

That photo you took back in ’62, before I was born, that fountain

which knew you by depth and by blueness, future voices hidden deep.

You passed your camera on to me. You passed on your love of blue.


I call ‘Dad’. I call louder. In my dreams I’m always calling you.

New empty houses, derelict streets, me flying above you, & you occasionally

calling back to me through dreams. I don’t always know what you mean.


I stare down alleyways, hallways, seaways of azure.

Remember, you say, beneath the desert there is treasure: there is water.



About Bethany Rivers:


Rivers has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and has two published collections of poetry: the sea refuses no river (Fly on the Wall Press) and Off the wall (Indigo Dreams). She is the author of Fountain of Creativity: Ways to nourish your writing (Victorina Press). Rivers is also the editor of As Above So Below online poetry magazine. She teaches creative writing and mentors writers one-to-one: www.bethanyrivers.com



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