"To the River"

Solana Travel Writing, Spring 2021

Sarah Dropek

Virginia Woolf was wrong.
as if money could spark a story
and an empty room could hold it

when a room is a cold thing
no matter how you paint, fill, or empty it out
and a mind is incessant
echoing against four walls
with a litany of scrolled over
useless facts and mindless laughs
from the rolodex of not quite strangers we keep up with and show out to
Woolf welcomed the silent room
born too early to know how loud silence can become

she neglected to demand
creaking limbs in a wind blowing so loud
there is no room for a thought except
This. Yes.
she didn’t pause to insist on
the obliterating roar of the ocean
that quiets even the most obstinate
dirge of the mind

but how could she think to request
something she came by so easily

Woolf rested on the bank of a babbling river
and asked for a cage of quiet
within a prison
but where is a river
and it’s soft-lapping waves of respite and reflection
in the smoke-citied din of apartment #205
where only highways and roads run through
eroding thoughts and patience
from the window in a room of one’s own

she watched leaves of russet and gold fall from trees
and said money was required.
but it doesn’t rustle the same
as a forest that is unreachable
at $7.25 an hour
with weekend sun and starlight spent sequestering tips
as long as you smile and laugh and keep drinks refilled

these beauties
gusting salty sea wind, blinding sun sparkling on wave after wave
brown trunks blending with blighted leaves, reaching to the sky
can disappear the sirens, screams, and scrolling scrutiny
only if you are free to get out

She can have her room.
I demand the sky.



Sarah Dropek is an English teacher on hiatus in the time of COVID. When not hunting for roly polys in the Texas heat with her toddler, she is usually writing, reading, or board gaming. Her work can be found online at HerStry, Mic.com, and The Guardian.

Twitter: @Dropek

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