a christmas poem + musings on a river, love, and uncertainty

For Christmas Eve and #poetrytuesday, I am sharing a poem I wrote to honour two of the most important influences on my life from the past two years: the Kiskiminetas River (affectionately known as the Kiski and a tributary of the Allegheny River) and Nick.

The Kiski is flipping gorgeous and, the further away you go from her mouth into the Allegheny, the more you feel like you’re on the back of a big snake winding through the high hills. She is big. She is joyful. She gets high and fast in the spring.

She’s also a perfect local kayaking destination for broke kids.

At one point, the Kiski was one of the most plentiful trout fishing destinations in the world. With all the Pittsburgh industry, she quickly became one of the most polluted rivers in the world. Fish died; her banks were scarred.

Nowadays, she’s seeing something of a revival, but there’s still long way to go. Thus, one of my resolutions for the new year is: love the Kiski better. Rivers reflect us, they support us, and, like us, they are always changing but always running their course.

Nick, on the other hand, is my best friend and my partner in adventure. We argue. We love each other. We broke up and got back together this year in the most confusing way possible. And now, almost two years since we met, I’m still making him lunches (most days) and he’s still fixing my car. One of my resolutions for this new year: love him better.

One of the most beautiful things about life is its uncertainty: we have a finite, unknown amount of time with which to love the places and people who hold our hearts. The solution: love them better. Try and fail and get up and try to love better each and every day. The uncertainty is humbling, awe-provoking, and so essential to being human.

Merry Christmas Eve and happy holidays to all <3

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