Beside the River

Low as it may be,
there is power still
between the wide

and tarry banks
that slope always
toward movement,

I want to invite
each wet surge
all the way in,

to rip and cleanse
and ravage, and
beneath the white

torrent, a slow
change a new
shape, a silence.

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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.

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.

And So It Begins Again

1.
The sun – at last, the sun.

2.
Moving our bodies,
and the morning light streams in.

3.
Everything is new
again – me and the green grass,
succulent with life.

4.
A band plays
on the first long night of summer
and inside my chest, also
there is music.

5.
In the hot spring, we
find an answer for every
question,
a question for every
answer.

6.
I’m not sure what it
is about rivers – perhaps
it’s the sound,
perhaps 
it is that
there is nothing
to hold on to.

Swing Me

You swing me,
swing me open
like a door you might be
fixin to walk through,
your pressed white sleeves
all loose
and fresh and smelling
of clean laundry
and guitar strumming
from a Sunday afternoon.

You swing me
like that big old branch
still dangling
from the cottonwood.
Just barely hanging on,
but dancing for certain,
along the thirsty water tips,
as we see it from the rock
that the river
placed for kissin.

You swing me
like this sunshine music
scorching down on
all the happy dancers
in their summer honey dresses
and their pearl snap button-downs,
scorching like that long look
you give me on the dusty
walk home just before
the sweet, wet rain.

Shadows

Even the
pebbles cast
black shadows
long, like
zebra stripes
across the
dusty trail.
And long,
your shadow
too, speechless
and stretching
up the
hillside ripe
with yellow
cactus bloom.
All evening,
you are
quiet with
your questions,
stopping only
to replace
the silver
grass between
your teeth,
or to
sit and
watch the
last speckled
patch of
sunlight fading
on the
river, rippled
water moving
in and
out, and
in again.