by Alex Dempsey

The Insistence of Geography

by Julie E. Bloemeke

Even though I live in Atlanta,
I drove to Maryland to get
away from the past of Ohio.
Stuck still in the Toledo ode
of my brain, Kelly said, “Time
to get out. Let’s go to the movies,”
and so we chose Julia, roaming through
Italy, India, Indonesia. I thought I could
get away further. We hopped into the back
of Amy’s Liberty, and her mother-in-law,
in town from Virginia for the day,
ran out and asked to join. “It’s the game,”
she said, “it’s always the game,”
zipping a scarlet jacket over her grey sweater.
And as we drove, she told us about
her grandson, fishing, how just
a week before he’d found a skull,
yes, a human skull, emerging from
a sleeve of sticks and mud
on the river’s bank. We marveled
over the strangeness: of story,
of timing, her grandson’s awe and fear
of discovery, an unmarked native
burial ground. I asked her the name,
this river, and she craned her neck
over the seat, spoke as if she were telling me
to buckle in, “Oh, it was on the Maumee,
you know, that river that runs
through the heart of Toledo.”