Minnesota Poetry: Steve Healey’s “1 Mississippi”

Steve Healey is the author of Earthling and, most recently, 10 Mississippi. He lives in Minneapolis, has taught at both Macalester College and the University of Minnesota, as well as at several Minnesota correctional facilities.

10 Mississippi consists of poems which explore our hide and seek games with our own memories, and the torrential flood of information – both inane and horrifying – that flows over us every day. Here’s a poem from the collection which I think does a good job capturing Healey’s distinct and powerful way with language.

1 Mississippi

The body recovered from the Mississippi River

this afternoon has been tentatively identified

as that of authorities on Tuesday identified

the body pulled from the Mississippi River

on Sunday evening as police on Saturday

identified a body discovered in the Mississippi River

this week as that of the crew recovered the body

of the man in the Mississippi River Wednesday night

and authorities suspect he may be the same man

bystanders witnessed enter the river Sunday

after several hours of searching the murky waters

of the Mississippi Tuesday night divers recovered

the body of a thirty-nine-year-old woman

local authorities pulled an unidentified body

out of the river’s floodwaters Saturday

a body pulled from the Mississippi River

was identified Monday as that of the body

found last weekend in the Mississippi River

was identified Tuesday as that of a man from

the body of a man believed to be in his twenties

was pulled from the Mississippi River on Thursday

police said authorities are investigating after

a body was found inside a vehicle at the bottom

of the Mississippi the search ended Wednesday

after his body was discovered downstream

identification was released Friday night

of the man whose body was pulled from

Monday morning according to the sheriff

a body was pulled from the river.

– “1 Mississippi” by Steve Healey, as it appears in his collection 10 Mississippi, published by Coffee House Press. Reprinted here with permission from the publisher.

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