Peer Review by efflorescence (United States)

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riparian rights

By: Norah


PROMPT: One Home

1.
this is no ownership here
the shore belongs to the water and the slow tide 

the dotted lines have never breathed a word of truth
not to anything but scarred maps, co-conspirators laying
down their bodies for the freedom to walk along
weed-laden highways, in the sweat of a new day 

2.
you have a name for everything and I,
I have no name, yet sit
like a beetle pinned to a board, under oath,
like two thousand rivers and their rights to bodily autonomy

two thousand women turned into lakes
 
I am your buttons in a jar
your rights and wrongs glinting behind the glass,
the outline of my body surrounded in chalk

3.
there is nothing here to heal,
only to let rest,
let roll over in the night to turn out the lamp

to let gently, slowly sleep


Message to Readers

there's only one earth and mom says we have to share


Peer Review

I love how you address the fact that humans do not own the earth; mother nature does. This belief is evidenced when you say, "the dotted lines have never breathed a word of truth / not to anything but scarred maps", which goes to emphasize the meaningless of man-made borders. However, the emotion I can relate to the most is the helplessness encompassed when you say, "like a beetle pinned to a board" and "the outline of my body surrounded in chalk".


The line, "two thousand women turned into lakes" confused me a little bit. Was this piece based on an event in real life? Maybe I'm misunderstanding because I'm not familiar with it. To make this line a little clearer, I suggest adding another line or two for more context (since this line also feels a bit like it's interrupting the previous stanza and the following stanza).


Reviewer Comments

For the title, do you mean to say "riparian"? Because riparian rights refer to the process of giving equal rights to everyone who has land adjacent to a river, which fits with the message of your piece.
Overall, I absolutely loved your piece! The similes, such as, "like a beetle pinned to a board" and "like two thousand rivers and their rights to bodily autonomy", are so unique, and they lyrically weave together nature with human concepts like borders and ownership.