Big Muddy

by Diane Thomas-Plunk

My friend the river never fit their mold, either.

He’d carry their barges and pleasure boats, then

Reclaim a field that once had been his or hold

A swimmer too close, not giving up what he took.


I tried the carnival balls and white gloves prescribed

For proper Southern girls, but was more Southern

Than prim, understanding the sameness of the

River’s currents and mine pushing against our banks.


No corsets for him or me; I stole his dogwoods

For a gown while matrons clucked at my shame and

Their regret – still needing us to validate

The tight patterns of life ordained for gentle folk.


So I threw away hats and teas and ritual crap

For a beach, typewriter and me. Succeeding

At my grandest failure in conformity.

My river egged me on and reclaimed a whole street.

Bio: Diane Thomas-Plunk was born and raised in Memphis, TN and, after many years in California, she and her husband have returned home to their roots. Thomas-Plunk has a degree in journalism and English from the University of Memphis. After a professional writing career in public relations and print journalism, she turned to fiction. NPR recognized her work last year when her entry was chosen as a “favorite” in their Three-Minute Fiction contest. Thomas-Plunk’s publication credits are primarily non-fiction, many of which are in trade publications.



  1. Ms. Thomas-Plunk captures in four highly crafted stanzas the view of many women in the changing South of the 70s and 80s. Good on her! May her poetry continue to delight, inspire and capture our memories. More soon, please!


Tell us what you think.



Passionately Ran, Compassionately Fed.

Follow by Email


Belle Rêve Literary Journal is a southern literary experience. Our mission is to capture everything that makes the South and its residents unique through the best contemporary literature we can find. We publish new works weekly.