RESPECT FOR RIVERS

The river’s mist, the churn and tumble
over boulders, where beneath its roar
and pines were trout for boys to catch.

I still get loud when we rub shoulders
on the phone, when I can’t see
your missing teeth. We dam rivers,

conserve irrigation water and believe
we can stop the floods and save
our sprawling delta cities with projects.

The water warms into a ditch, spreads
into furrows in fields to disappear
and feed ourselves at the same time—

we live between the snow and fruit
and pray for storms, for the pulse
and surge of plenty. We swim

within a system shaped like a tree—
in the deep narrows of its trunk
or on the fringes of its creeks.

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