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Issue 11: Winter 2017




The Winter 2017 issue of Mangrove Journal is an online-only edition. Print books of select Spring issues are available on the University of Miami Coral Gables campus for a suggested donation of $5-$10 to the Creative Writing Program. Please contact for more information.



As my car moves over the highway hill,
The shining surface of the Missouri River emerges,
Filling my bug-splattered windshield with its beauty.

I point frantically to the exit sign—we cannot pass up this perfection.
You see me in your mirror and turn off just in time.
I follow closely, buzzing with excitement for the adventure I know is coming.
On the first try, you find some back road,
Abandoned, that leads straight to a rocky riverbed.

I throw the car into park, shed my shoes, and step out onto the dirt.
For the first moment I feel cautious.
I’ve never seen you hurt or vulnerable, but you are.
You somehow still exude a dignified strength.

You lower yourself to the hood of your car and pull off your giant shoes and socks.
You let them fall carelessly to the South Dakota earth.
A little dust cloud floats gently toward the river
Like it has been longing for the Missouri’s rushing depth this whole time, but needed 
Your push.

While I watch, you walk alone toward the river.
I hesitate a moment. The sun is washing my skin and the air is heavy.
I look down the rocks and the river overpowers my senses.
It is an entity of its own,
Strong and beckoning.

Pieces of cotton from the bending trees
Float softly toward you
Like the trees themselves knew
You were coming
And are acknowledging their gratitude.

You pull off your shirt and toss it behind you gently, next to your shoes.
You move with a soft grace uncommon to someone of your size
Your face is stoic, knowing.

You, the trees, the water
Set this trap for me.
They traded their beauty for your goodness.
The trees sat you down a year ago and taught you how to calm me
Taught you how to give me joy.

I followed you, hypnotized, wondering
When this buzzing magic began.
You were teetering on the edge of the river now, and neither of us were surprised
When you were pulled
By the river’s love
The water.
It had missed you.

“It feels like Christmas morning!”
Your exclamation made me gasp with laughter.
You hadn’t shown your joy since things were right.
I guess you couldn’t bring yourself to push away the river’s kisses.

The river didn’t know me but you told it
To love me anyway
So I jumped in, and after a moment of resistance, it swallowed me whole.

Dannika Nash 

Dannika is an English and philosophy double-major, graduating in 2014. 
She attends the University of Sioux Falls in South Dakota.