Friday, November 13, 2009


Tule fog threads the red tips
of bone-gray willow stalks. Water lisps

in an eddy’s clot, cackles through the riffles.
The murmur of crows descends on a downdraft.

The sand and gravel bar below the bridge—
inscribed by braided streams—is a mosaic

of polished stones, lost feathers, the skeletons
of spawned-out salmon: a cuneiform of death and drift.

How many mornings have I stepped into this river,
felt its inexorable pull—a muted ache

unspool an old affliction that never found redress.
And how many mornings have I watched the fog

gleam radiant with the sunrise—
a luminous blizzard of refracted light:

an alchemy, a transubstantiation.

My poem appeared in Inspirit Magazine in 2005. When I took this photo, just this morning, I knew the two would go together.