River Jubilee

Chanda Feldman

After the spring rains’ glut and drain—
the adults drove to the river with nets
and buckets tethered to pick-up beds.At the docks they peeled off their socks,
unbuckled shoes. The men rolled up dungarees
and sleeves over the knobs of elbows and knees.Women gathered dress hems into knots
above calves to keep their shifts from sipping
the current. Nothing to hurry: the fishstraggled in the shallows, coal-dust
catfish, striped bass, and the glass
of sunfish along the bank. A convergence—men and women came twisting down woods-
trails from the bluff until river mud sucked
their feet. Nets swooshed over fish-bodies,they’d twitch and writhe until slapped
into buckets, and still more, flip-flopping
in the shallows. The wet, mouthy odorof water, river-grit spangling ankles. The adults
crooned I’ll be damned’s, as they met the flesh
shouldered up on the waters.

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Chanda  Feldman

Chanda Feldman’s work has appeared in numerous journals including Cincinnati Review, Ecotone, New South, Prairie Schooner, Southern Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review. A former Wallace E. Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, Feldman’s work has garnered numerous accolades, including awards and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, the Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Memorial Fund, the MacDowell Colony, and the National Endowment for the Arts. (Author photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz)

“Chanda Feldman’s quiet, powerful verse unfolds bloom after bloom with a slow seethe of Black-eyed Susans and leotards, of shadow land and grosgrain. Her family’s color-lined lineage ripples through history and grown-folk talk. This poet’s powers are subtle and slow-boiled as she takes us by the hand and leads us through season after season of challenge and change in a stumble-proof voice that never leaves a passenger behind.”
—Tyehimba Jess

“In a cadence reminiscent of old gospel rhythms rising from deeper reflections on the evolution of self and culture, the hand of the poet evokes her memories of family and history, sans sentimentalism. With heartfelt precision, Feldman builds the book to its shining summit, a testimony to getting through to an understanding of what it is to stand in awe of an awareness of how love persists. Approaching the Fields is a beautifully crafted book of courage gone, courage now taking breath, and courage yet to come.”
—Afaa M. Weaver

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