A Poem by Weston Cutter

by Jacob Sunderlin, Co-Editor of Poetry

Weston Cutter is from Minnesota, is the author of the book of stories You’d Be a Stranger, Too, has had work recently inForklift, OH and the Kenyon Review, and is an assistant professor at the University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne, IN.  His poem “If Not River” is available in the most recent issue of Sycamore Review, Vol. 24 Issue 1.

IF NOT RIVER

Minnesota I’m your river.  I start distant, in
quiet.  I ache for scene’s completion, will
flow till I get there and will wonder what
I’ll spill, when, where, etc.  Minnesota
I rise and subside depending
on season, Minnesota I too swell in spring +
deserve my own Corps to tend locks
+ help with my overflow.  I like water’s all or
enough: I’m made of 61 Highways and Minnesota
have you heard how I sound
when my sky fluoresces?  Sizzling in dark
and cold, that’s what, Minnesota, shivers,
a whispering from the sky like a radio station
that died at sunset yet here we are, still tuned in.
I wonder about you, Minnesota.  I’ve let
your winters finger me months at a stretch,
I’ve fallen (like who hasn’t) for icy beauty, I’ve
gulped considering what lives in and/or through such chill, I’ve dived
into a lake’s hole, January, to prove something
about blood or where I belong, what I want
to know is this: Minnesota am I river
enough?  What if I’m all boat?
Will you still love me Minnesota if I admit
that I, too, round up?  That I don’t have
ten thousand anything but I’m happy
to claim otherwise?  So much water.  All that
gouging.  Minnesota you wear your trampled
past well and don’t let anyone fool you: it’s not
nice, that flinty gaze you cast west to prairie, north
to another country, east to a lake bigger than sin
but Minnesota don’t pretend otherwise, it’s not
niceness either of us have been after this whole time.