The river god dreams of death by water

Ryu Ando

The river god dreams of death by water

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Ryu Ando’s writing has appeared in many speculative literature magazines such as Strange Horizons, Pidgeonholes, Liquid Imagination, Zetetic, and more. He has three poetry collections published with a…p press, The Operating System, and Weasel Press. Online at: and @ryu_ando_98


Author’s Backstory and Comments:  There’s more to this piece than can be said in a few words, but here are some scattered thoughts! I was re-reading Eliot’s Four Quartets (for the hundredth time, maybe) sometime last year (2021) and began to write something in that vein: a travelogue of the Arakawa River down through to where it splits, artificially diverted now as the Sumida River, and then merges with the ocean.

One wonders what the river god thought of us engineering the river so that it became something new, something split in two? One wonders what the river god thinks of us when we use it, drink it, swim in it, float on top of it, divert it, oblivious to its power and mercy? One wonders what the traveler becomes as they reach their journey’s end? Do regrets consume them? Do they think of thought itself, go mad, sink in the water, float on?

Musically, Gavin Miller’s Meander Scars [] gives us the feeling of deep undertones, like the resonant sound coming from deep-stained cherry wood, and the structure of the ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ course. And ma [ ] – the split open lines and spaces, the negative spaces of the first part – forms the silent vertebrae of this work.

Editor’s Notes and Image Credit: The Arakawa River, Japan, reflects the sky at sunset [photograph by Lance Henderstein].


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