The Fourth River

Tributaries, The New Nature: “the tenth muse (i drink to you)”

By on February 28, 2018

By Sylvan Lebrun


I sit across a table from a mortal bleeding out
as the cruel touch of admiration flays her alive
for to think of a person as more than a person is to kill them
and when they called her a myth
it is like they took the mind from the body
took the roots from a twisting willow tree
took the forces of gravity from the earth and sent the oceans flying
and careening into the air

they ask me to save her, to staunch the flow of scalding force of life
out of her so upright form
but I look in her eyes and see misery
so I refuse.

look what they have done to her. and to me,
handing me the lungs of the afterlife and begging me to sing

they have learned to carve from marble what is only from the air
they took what is rooted in the loving earth
what is rich, what is flourishing, what will never cease to
bloom. they took what is of rivers,
and blackbirds
and mothers
and they stood. letting it spill from their lips that they have taught the cosmos
to shine brighter

but I dissent

and at the site of all decay, I ponder
how they called Sappho
the tenth muse
burned her books and hallowed her name
like it was theirs to hold in reverence
I swipe my finger through the stains
of creation upon the abiotic
and I raise a glass with shaky hands
to the poetess,
to the true



Sylvan Lebrun is a student, poet and musician living in Tokyo, Japan. She likes to write about constellations and solid right hooks. Her work has previously been published in Crab Fat Magazine.