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Sam Ambler

The River Queen

The Land of Evangeline by Joseph Rusling Meeker

The river queen laughs from the mouth of the river.
There is her home, her peace, and her youth.
The mouth laughs like spring in the dead of winter.

The river queen reigns in the tendrils of the river—
some say her throne is a thousand live snakes,
yet she sings the song of the river
without a trace of the cloven-tongued hiss.

The river queen sleeps in a reed-bed or marsh-bed.
Her hair guards her temple like a tangle of vines.
She dreams of a vast, world-conquering river—
companion, a mother, a cloud for a lover,
to swell her belly and raise her breasts.

She faces the river with glimpses of mirror—
dancing in ripples, wading in whirlpools,
floating away.


About the writer:
Mr. Ambler’s writing has been published in Apricity Magazine, Avatar Review, Brushfire, Christopher Street, City Lights Review Number 2, The Courtship of Winds, El Portal, Euphony Journal, Evening Street Review, Glint Literary Journal, Headway Quarterly, Hearth & Coffin, The James White Review, Mount Hope Magazine, Nixes Mate Review, The Phoenix, Plainsongs Poetry Magazine, Red Wheelbarrow, Talking River Review, Visitant, and Wrath-Bearing Tree, among others. Most recently, he was featured in the anthology VOICES OF THE GRIEVING HEART. He won the San Francisco Bay Guardian’s 6th Annual Poetry Contest. He earned a BA in English, specializing in creative writing of poetry, from Stanford University. He delivered singing telegrams and sang with the Temescal Gay Men’s Chorus in Berkeley and the Pacific Chamber Singers in San Francisco. He has worked in nonprofit theater at Berkeley Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Actors’ Equity, and The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts. Now retired, he lives in California with his husband, visual artist Edward L. Rubin.

Image: The Land of Evangeline by Joseph Rusling Meeker (1827-1887).  Oil on canvas. 33.1 x 45.1 inches. 1847. Public domain.

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