(Watercolor, Dawn Breaks, jane kohut-bartels, 2000)
Over at dverse, Paul Dear is giving a prompt of “River” meaning many things to different poets. This is my interpretation.
I took a walk this morning.
The seasons have changed here
though where you are they don’t.
The dried, brittle grass beneath my feet
made a consistent crackle,
echoed by the gossip of sparrows above.
The leaves are stripped from the birches and maples.
They fell like rain on a fallow ground one day
and I didn’t see them go.
I think of your rounded arms when I see the shedding birches,
the smooth bark like white skin with a faint pulse of the river beneath.
Do you remember that river, when it scared you to stand close to the bank?
You thought the earth would slip inward,
take you on a wild ride downstream where
I couldn’t retrieve you,
and I saw for an instant your raised arms imploring me silently to save you—
though it never happened and you never slipped down the bank and I never could save you.
But imagination plays with your mind when it’s all that is left.