Muriel Walked in the River of Crisis Toward the Real
Sue Landers

Gowanus Canal

            (How did we get to the water?)

A creek off the bay.
A salt marsh.
There had been oysters.
The water brackish.
Named after some say a Carnarsie sachem.
Then grids atop coal ash and trash.
The carving of channels for industry heavy.
A century of discharge.
Today’s black mayonnaise.
Bankside a condo with Superfund terrace.
Excavators in the canal now a dredging.
Beside wildflowers in the ballasts.
Hibiscus on a bridge.
And the bushes teeming with rosehips.

Susan (Sue) Landers (she/her) is the author of Franklinstein (Roof Books, 2016), a multi-genre collection about a Philadelphia neighborhood wrestling with the legacies of colonialism, racism, and capitalism. She is also the author of two full-length books of poetry—248 mgs., a panic picnic (O Books, 2003) and Covers (O Books, 2007). Her chapbooks include 15: A Poetic Engagement with the Chicago Manual of Style (Least Weasel, 2011) and What I Was Tweeting While You Were On Facebook (Perfect Lovers Press, 2013). Her poems have appeared in Poem-A-Day, The Brooklyn Rail, The Offing, and elsewhere. She was the founding editor of the experimental poetry journal POM2. She was a 2018 artist in residence at PLAYA Summer Lake and a 2015 resident fellow at Saltonstall Colony for the Arts. She has an MFA from George Mason University and lives in Brooklyn.


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