Bridges

This old train bridge,
smelling of creosote,
says Please Do Not Climb,
but instead my urge
is to lie down in the river,
to let water cold as glaciers
from the white mountains
fill me everywhere
with the clarity
of melted sky.

On the trail, an anomaly
of shredded grass,
a tuft of fur.
What raucous
happened here?

I look for eagles in the tallest tree
and instead I see a robin,
the most regular of birds,
perched on the pinnacle of a branch
where sometimes the eagles are.
Well, I can see those in my own backyard,
and still I am moved
by this morning,
by the thin pane of ice
that barely exists atop the shaded wetlands
stinking of living sulphur.

The cattails are frozen
like rodents roasting on spits,
it’s easy to laugh
at one’s own thoughts,
equal parts frost and sunshine
on a morning in early spring,

I know that water under the bridge
is already a thing,
and also, I would be hard pressed
to say it any better,
standing here on this bridge as I am,
with time passing swiftly underneath
and water, the color of smoke,

and perhaps it is silly
that we say a thing at all,
becoming so focused on the river
that we forget about
the mountain.

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Stag on the Lawn at Sunrise

Hooves on deck boards
wake me out
of dream, antlers

tattered, rack his long
and wandering days
like closets hung with

humble lessons, whole
and broken, he is
the story of many

seasons in these mountains,
and I know that we are
both blessed to be alive

inside the golden
stillness of a delicate
dawn.  We look

at each other
for a long time, mirror
pupils like two black

pools, quieter than
the quietest morning,
and just as softly,

he is gone,
as another
holy day unfurls

into the sunshine of itself
outside the open
window, and my heart,

in equal
parts, breaking
and opening.

Night River

River swollen with
the June side of spring
runs bulge to bank

even as I sleep,
broken brambles swept
sideways into white

water wearing
brown borrowed earth,
liquid siege

like swift time
toward a downstream
dream as the night rain

comes down
from a lightning sky, drop
by drop by deluge

to the sea, past
the rocks now smooth
with the rush of it,

no more resistance
to the flood of it
as everything softens

like stone and like
golden sunrise on the gift
of another morning.