elizabeth akin stelling

A Cowgirl at the River Bottom

Adventure began for me the moment I sat in the front of my father’s boat on the edge of a river. He threw out fishing lines as I was given permission to pick up his forty five magnum laying at the end of the boat. My arm twisted and turned to his laughter. The wood and metal felt heavy like daddy’s voice, “only point at the ground or out toward the water”. Feeling powerful I stood up in the boat, rocking it back and forth; swishing noises echoed through the metal and water; tree limbs, brush, and rocks helped hoist our weight, as they worked together to keep the boat from slipping down a muddy river bank, and drifting far from the safety.

Again, my arms brought up the gun, aiming it down stream. The rivers murky existence lay exposed. You could not see the bottom or the fish; nor could they see what was coming when the trigger was pulled. I am sure the noise of the gun was heard far past the river. The explosion and kick sent my shoulders flying to the back of the boat’s floor. A soft landing over seats, oars, and on top of life jackets. How cool was it my bullet had pierced the surface of the water, lodging itself in red mystery. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how the river shot back.

Hailing from Texas, transplanted to New Jersey by way of St. Louis, Elizabeth Akin Stelling is a force of nature. She is a wife, mother, chef, a writer, an activist, and insomniac. She is managing editor of Z-composition Magazine, and has works published in vox poetica, Wild River Review, Tuck Magazine, and culinary trade magazines. Chef E’s food poetry has been heard on CroptoCuisine Radio, and her articles on poetry and art can be found in Lamplighter Magazine- New Jersey’s Alternative Music & Culture Magazine.