I wish I could use
a mountain-climbing image:
it would describe the feeling
all hanging by my fingernails
over a gaping inevitability.
But I have never climbed a mountain
of any consequence; any attempt
to use a mountain-climbing image
would fall short, just as I would
fall long had I tried to climb a mountain.
Instead, I have to depend on water
flowing by in the river — that’s something
I do have in my poetic arsenal; I have
plenty of river experience.
Today, a group of us stood by the river
to commemorate the end of another summer.
The water was dark and rough, kind of
like the summer; yet there were times that the sun
etched the water in silver and deepest sapphire.
There were times the sky was heart-aching,
soul-kissing blue, and the trees impossible
reds, yellows, ochres — more than flames,
more than leaves, more than matter.
And so, I sit here in town, watching the water
flow by in memory. And I can see in the water
a lifetime of summers that have flowed by
as summers will flow by, inhabited by children
who drift by again and again, a little older each time,
a little wiser, each leaving a brief indentation
in the surface of the river that flows on
towards the city in the heart-aching,