The Study of Rivers —Eleanor Kedney
between stones a rill where water slows, beyond
turbulence. my hatred for a brother
was a receded wave, to say it existed
would be treason—the relief I felt when he died,
perfectly normal, I’m told; he stole more
from me than watch, ring,
gold chain: a rambling laugh, a whirling dance.
the movement of sediment
complex—stream power, sheer stress,
water depth, particulate size—
a river flows toward another body
of water, sometimes never reaches one,
ends its course in the ground.
American beech, roots tangled
in the understory, the bank scoured
by wind and rain—eroded earth, a miracle shift—
the flow still confined, broom sedge
alive, a coppery glow. Our dreams as sediment
turn into rock—last night, I heard:
Don’t take Valium anymore to fall asleep.
If you continue what you are doing, you won’t be here.
The dying say what they will miss the most
is their body. How long I’ve judged the smallest things
to be another. I inspect the damage,
right the canoe, paddle alongside wood ducks,
warm and dry in cold, moving water.
A split branch points upward—the sky has always been there.
Patrick T. Reardon