Jan Beatty

1952 / Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

An eater, or swallowhole, is a reach of stream

An eater, or swallowhole, is a reach of stream or a tidal area given to violent currents and waves that often upset and/or suck under boats and kayaks and the like as they are attempting passage.
— William Kittredge
The eater, my birthmother, was speaking:

I can't tell you his name.
You have to promise me you won't look for him.
He's not a nice man.
Agitated, frenetic, the eater falling into her own waters.
Sobbing, almost wailing.

She said:
I'm so ashamed.
I'm sorry.
It was one night.
I was swirling into the streambed,
lost in the downstream plunge.

I said:
Can you just tell me his name?
I won't look for him.
The eater filled with water, driving
toward the boulder's edge.

I rocked:
into the lava break,
into the fault.
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