The Kings River

By Ron A. Alexander

For my mother, La Verne

The Kings River
through your veins,
             you insisted;
the pomegranate
and the liquidambar you
planted years before
rooted in your bones.

             Now I understand.

You rest with that oak,
half a millennium old
its roots in the icy
Sierra runoff.

It sings
of the sycamores’
loves and the heartbreak
of the river

and you remember your own

A composition professor’s tepid appraisal of Ronald A. Alexander’s early poetry interrupted Ron’s writing for 25 years. Then in 1995, diagnosed yet surviving AIDS, he took a friend’s advice: “If you’re not going to die, write!” Together the two developed a novel of the AIDS pandemic. Yet, attending writer’s conferences, Ron would steal away to poetry workshops. Eventually he could deny it no longer. He had succumbed to poetry. Also by this poet: "Inevitability"