“Stones” by Michel Wing
Virginia walks into the river with stones
in her pockets. Smooth stones, river stones,
small enough for hands.
I drive to the ocean with nothing
in my pockets. No name, no wallet,
no place to put my hands.
She knows the river,
she knows why she is there.
I am somewhere near the Pacific,
a cliff, a highway. Why am I here?
Fatigue, that’s all it is. Enough.
She writes, I can’t fight any longer,
then steps out the door.
At the payphone alongside
the highway, I dial 0, ask
for the crisis line.
She is walking through the water now, ankle
deep, then higher. The river swirls
around the hemline of her coat.
Hello? May I help you?
I crouch under the phone, ocean salt on
my cheeks. I want to die.
The eddies grow stronger, colder,
as she forges forward, hands still
wrapped around the stones.
Have you thought of going on a walk?
Or maybe a nice bubble bath?
I drop the phone, let it dangle.
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Michel Wing’s Artist Statement: Michel Wing is a writer of poetry and creative nonfiction. They are the author of Body on the Wall (Saddle Road Press) and editor of Cry of the Nightbird: Writers Against Domestic Violence (WolfSinger Publications), both released in 2014 under the name of Michelle Wing. During years spent in California, Michel founded “Changing Hurt to Hope: Writers Speak Out Against Domestic Violence,” a program at the YWCA, and launched a successful reading series, “Books on Stage,” both in Sonoma County. They have a fifteen-year background in journalism, working on community newspapers and as a freelance magazine writer.