The River Flows

The Allegheny trembles along its bedpath
somewhere in Eagle Rock, the recess of my thoughts.
Its mild torrents lap against
the flat rock bank, my mind.
The moon glows silver above my head,
its light cast upon the flowing waves
of water trickling downstream.
Cool night breeze,
a chill shivers through me; I open myself
to the water.

All these nights I have stood under this moon,
under these millions of stars in the clear black sky,
grass clinging to crumbling mud
under my sometimes bare toes.
And I atop this falling down hill,
or on the smooth stones at its foot,
walk down into the river,
feel the coolness of its molecules
curling round my ankles,
the coming morning's dew condenses on my skin,
memories surge to the surface, mingle,
merge with the droplets of vapor.

I spent my life with this water at my heel
growing into the woman I am,
running in puddles of water, mud,
playing in size thirteen fireman boots
left from better days
when there was a hero in the house.
The river watched, moody some days,
heaving her violent chest
toward our little cabin in the woods,
but always patient as I sat
playing Pig Out on the green mottled swing,
hanging from rusty chains,
holding young ones in my lap.
Waited while we scavenged
buckets, cups, cartons, crates
anything that might hold
all the blackberries in the world,
their juices staining my fingers,
mixing with blood drawn by their thorns.

But now...I inhale the thick air,
smell spring's late shower,
and shrug deeper into the rose heather
sweatshirt protecting my slightly
stooped shoulders
from that morning mountain breeze
while far away a river still flows,
quietly over billions of small smooth stones.