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Posts Tagged ‘river’

Down by the river we sit and talk.

When I think I can’t ache any more,

the world serves more heartache.

And I meet it.

I say no, but I feel myself stretched

by some great invisible hand,

rendering me spacious enough to hold

what must be held.

When we rise to leave,

the river doesn’t stop.

Nor does the forgiving wind.

I swear I feel them move

right through me.

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Because you float—

that in itself is something

to admire. As we all know,

the world tries to sink us.

But you, buoyant and tough,

you carry us over cold water.

You act as a bumper when

we get too close to a rock,

to a wall, to a log. You move

at the river’s pace.

There are days, weeks,

I wish I could do what you do—

surround us with support,

make it fun, slip us

into the flow so easily

we can’t help but laugh,

even as our hearts

thump wild in our chests.

 

 

 

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And so I pull the purple comb

through my son’s thick hair,

the same way I’ve seen

the stylists do at Great Clips.

Wet the hair. Comb it through.

Part it. Hold it between

two fingers. Cut vertically. Snip,

and his hair falls to the floor.

Comb it through. Snip. Snip.

 

We both know that I

have no clue what I’m doing.

So we laugh as the hair

piles up on the floor.

We chatter, the way

a stylist and customer would,

talking of school and his friends

and his unruly cowlicks. Snip.

 

I remember that time

I was trapped underwater

by the river’s hydraulics,

how I stared up at the light

shining through the surface

and thought, I don’t think

it’s my time yet to die.

And the river spit me out

and I swam hard as I could

through the rapid toward shore.

 

I don’t think it’s my time yet

to die. Nor my son’s. Though

all around us the news of dying—

the numbers increasing every day,

stories of beloveds who are gone.

 

We ask ourselves, how do we

go on? And meanwhile, we do.

We go on. And because my son’s hair

is too long for his taste,

I learn how to cut it by cutting it.

How much more will we learn

as this goes on? How to share?

How to grieve? How to let go? How to live?

 

And meanwhile, life spits us out

into sunlight, and we come up

spluttering, gasping, surprised

we’re alive, and we swim, what a gift

to find we’re still swimming.

 

 

 

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Riparian

To be known by the river—
that is what I wanted,
which is to say,
to know the self
as the river knows it,
as something that might be carried,
something that will be eroded,
something that might wade
into the center and then join
in the flow of all things.

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Hundreds of smooth red stones—

we gathered them that summer

and spent days carefully laying them out

into a wide and winding red path.

It had no real starting point, no destination.

We tucked white daisies between the rocks.

We said it was for the fairies.

I wouldn’t have said it then, in fact,

I hesitate today to say we didn’t believe in them.

They gave us so much purpose.

Even now, I’m following that path.

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Autumn Beside the River

 

 

 

The rocks that were underwater

two months ago are dry now,

and a woman can sit on them

beneath the bridge and escape

the September sun. But she can’t

escape herself. There was a time

she really believed she could control things.

Now she sits with her own brokenness

and invites the inevitable autumn into her,

the autumn that’s already come.

Invites the lengthening nights. Invites

the dank scent of the garden, moldering and dead.

Invites the loss of green. You can’t be

a sapling forever, she tells herself,

though another part of her argues,

Yes you can, yes you can.

 

The river has never been so clear—

every rock in the bed is visible now,

and perhaps clarity is one of autumn’s best gifts.

She imagines the leaves of her falling off—

how she loves them.

She imagines them golden in the wind.

 

 

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One Wild Ride

 

 

 

inside the heart

is a river bank full

and a boat

with no oars

no map

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Beneath wide bands of ice,

the river hides, barely visible,

but when we come closer,

 

we can hear how alive it is,

playful as ever, babbling, rippling.

And somewhere in and around the water,

 

the stonefly larva keep moving,

the midges produce their own antifreeze,

the damselfly eggs diapause,

 

all of them adept at surviving the cold.

There are times I have wondered

how love survives, even when

 

we starve it, freeze it, offer it nothing,

turn our attention the other way.

Perhaps it adapts, as macroinvertebrates do.

 

Or perhaps it is more like the river itself,

persistent, singing as it goes, making its own path,

and all we ever need do is meet it.

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One Marriage

 

ever conversing

the canyon and river—

one carves,

one contains,

one sings,

one resonates,

summer, winter,

sun, rain,

both endure

both change

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Eventually

 

 

 

Not until the darkness came

did I hear the river, the insistent

 

clear of it. All the bright day

I had listened to the ding

 

of the timer, the ring of the phone,

the whine of the boy and the sob

 

of the girl, the scrabble of kittens,

the turn of engines, the click

 

of my shoes, the printer’s gray hum.

And then, once the dishes were done

 

and the boy was asleep and

the girl was asleep and the phone

 

was off and the lights

were out and I lay in the patient

 

dark, I heard it, the changing flush

of the river’s rush, which surely

 

had been there all day, the river

doing what a river does—moving

 

over whatever stands in its path

and turning each obstacle into song.

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