Rj Ingram

Take Me To The River

If you go down to the woods today you’re sure of a big surprise. Today’s the day the marching band has their baptism. The river’s always chilly this time of August as band camp ends & the school year begins. One or two freshman will deny their rite, but no one is seriously afraid of getting a little wet. The drum major, a senior now, leads the event & splashes all his new classmates with a majorette baton. I almost had sex with him last winter at a party. It was cold but the pool was heated. He was fooling around with another boy who asked if I wanted to join. Steam rose from their chest hair as their hands pulled at their sex under the surface. I’ll never regret not saying yes, but will always remember how challenging it was to say no. This is how it should be, anyway. On my knees in the river. Him coming at me with the baton to splash my face with water.


That moment near the end when the kid is stabbed by his friend & the flash in his eye says he knows the game is over. Or that moment Courtney Cox saves the day & makes a terrible joke about a gun. We’ve all had those days. In middle school, for example, someone got detention for making a joke about masturbating. I got in trouble too for laughing at it. As soon as the joke slipped out of Drew’s mouth he made the same look from the movie. As if he was being stabbed by a knife & knew the game was over. I went as scream that year for Halloween. I didn’t see the movie until much later in life but the masks were popular & everywhere. You couldn’t walk into a drugstore without seeing little kids running around in black robes & gaunt white faces. Plastic knives coated in red paint. Had I watched the movie I probably would have gone as the reporter, thought dead & then resurrected to save the day. Covered in blood as she announces the town is finally safe.

Rj Ingram received an MFA in creative writing from Saint Mary’s College of California with concentrations in poetry and creative nonfiction. They are a contributing editor for OmniVerse at Omnidawn Publishing. Recent or forthcoming work can be found in Gabby, White Stag, Cloud Rodeo, Alice Blue Review, and Sugar Mule among others. Rj’s cat Brenda lost a leg steaming milk for the perfect latte.