On the phone,
I will hear the break in your voice before the second syllable of my name,
and I will feel the water rising.

You will speak to me of drowning,
and I will improvise words that are wrong and perfect
and my heart will collapse for you,
my insides turn in on themselves
and I will be there with you in the river.
When your end of the line clicks silent
and I am alone in my chair
in a living room where night has fallen
and no one has bothered to turn on a lamp,
still I will be with you in the river.  
I will intercede.  
I will reach for sustenance in the form of wisest love.  
I will lift up.  
I will wade in.  
And it will feel endless.

But the miracle will begin there.  
One by one, others will come,
will stand ankles and knees and elbows deep in the swirling and swells.  
Their hands will close around my hand
as it closes around others
as they close around yours.  
Warmth will be born in the quake of a collective shiver.  
Someone will make a joke
about how you look with wet hair,
and that cheap laughter, which is priceless and also everything,
will bubble up against the force of the waves,
will knock them backward,
will lift you up.  
Someone will whisper something true,
and it will move you,
and your feet will stir in the mud and find something solid,
something to stand on,
something to give.  
Someone will know something wise,
will speak with words of angels,
and the storm
will be silenced,
will be peace,
will be still.

This is the chain,
the hand-in-hand alchemy
that will bridge the most unholy of currents
and return you to the love on the farthest shore.  
These are the hands and this is their purpose—
to bind us
and bring us
and allow us
to hold and to carry.  
We are the deliverers of deliverance,
and this, here, alive, is how we may have defined kingdom all along.  
Because what never fails to break my heart is the way that,
one by one,
these bodies will jump in around you.  
One by one,
they will offer themselves,
they will stand in the river,
they will brave the current
because they belong to love
and therefore to you
and we to each other.

And we are all of us going deeper
but no one,
not one of us,
is going under.

This, now, is the rage and the darkness—
the floor sitting and long calls and hardest work.  
These are the depths and the darks and the secrets,
this: here in the river.  
This is the beginning.  
But the miracle is coming.

Love is here, and coming.

And we are all of us going deeper, but no one,
not one of us,
not one of us,

not even one.


About the Author

Karyn is a writer, mama, and Realtor in San Diego, CA. You can find more of her writing at, and stay tuned for her passion project, The Virago Collective, a network dedicated to empowering women to buy, sell, and invest in property that will launch in the spring of 2018.