The River (IV) by Michelle Blake

As we learn not to harden and brace even in the face of what appears to be ultimate darkness, but to let all things flow in that great river of kenosis and perichoresis,

we come to know—and finally become—the river itself, which circulates through all things in the hidden dynamism of love.

It is no coincidence that a malignant narcissist has stranded our country on top of a great dam of fear. They can only grasp what they already own. They are paralyzed by fear. He has paralyzed us all.

A lot of fear is distortion. If you live in the Texas Hill Country where I spent some of my childhood, a persistent fear of rattlesnakes is practical. If you live in Vermont, as I do now, where there are very, very, very few rattlesnakes, that fear is distortion.

Distorted fear is a way of casting our brokenness onto creation.

In the New York Times, Michelle Alexander wrote: Every leap forward for American democracy—from slavery’s abolition to women’s suffrage to minimum wage laws to the Civil Rights Act to gay marriage—has been traceable to the revolutionary river

—the river that flows through the canyons of New York City, Chicago, Portland, Kenosha, Houston, Detroit, Mobile, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Bakersfield, Boston,

Columbus, Dallas, Des Moines, Denver, District of Columbia, Houston, Louisville, Perth, Paris, Hong Kong, London, Berlin, Nairobi, Cape Town, Accra, Haifa, Beirut, Bethlehem

–the river itself, which circulates through all things in the hidden dynamism of love.

We do not brace against ultimate darkness.

We mask ourselves and move into the streets, move in the streets, move the streets. We love with spit and blood and force and brilliance. We move.

Michelle Blake has published three novels with Putnam Penguin, as well as poems and essays in Tin House, Ploughshares, NY Times, Southern Review, Mid-American Review, Mezzo Cammin, Cider Press Review and others. Her chapbook, Into the Wide and Startling World, was awarded publication in the New Women’s Voices contest at Finishing Line. She has also taught writing at Tufts, Stanford, Goddard, and at a GED program in Boston at Jobs For Youth. She was director of both the Goddard and the Warren Wilson MFA writing programs.