The roar of the rapids as loud as the drizzle is soft.
Wanderers in slickers flick past,
fingers numb, barely looking.
Oh but you can see them,
the Great Blues, hopping
lonesomely from stone to stone
amid the rush of white water,
nests cold and dizzying and far.
Overhead, there is no rumble.
The tracks stand sad sentinel, drip
down to the worn pages
where Walt marks his yawp,
there, under the trestles,
above the river and the wastewater and the burnt-
out campfires, unrivaled in the rain.
So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
–T. S. Eliot
is about hope, how I saw a single heron
on the riverbank and, telling you of him
at the end of a bitter day, you say
I think they must be coming back.
about the note you gave me not
two weeks ago, tucked away
in my coat pocket against the still-
cool nights; how not everything fades
so quickly. this morning,
a quart of strawberries
was ninety-nine cents at the market,
so I counted out the change and I think, after
this cruel spring of shallow breath and repentance, we
will know the gasp & fire of riversummers again.
you will not know this story
unless you are here, how this river’s april
has so little of comfort
to the dying. picking yesterdays
through debris from the birds
nesting in our worn out
gutters, noting the unfronding
of lilac and hyacinth and other life close
to the ground, I hear sobbing
from two yards over, a woman
not myself, in agony. Stay close to the ground,
I want to say, away from the rooftops, the empty nests.
I call them our; not knowing whether it is true;
I have no other pronouns to offer.