Hard to hear that the river could end. Harder
still that you wouldn’t miss it—that river, green
eddies, white hungry rapids, fat trout with speckled bellies:
how easily you could get over it. Move on
like the river has moved for its sweetly long
and vanishing life—the river
rubbed no wondering fingers
over rocks it wore smooth. What hawks
dove for what fish. What stray dog cooled
its paws. What letters were carried in what plastic
bottles from river’s edge to the inevitable sea.
Rain wrote on the river in its pinewood language,
wrote shotgun and snail shells, fishing lures, needles of fir.
Language hooked to bodies and timber,
all carried through by the river, a river made by no woman,
not the woman with her basket of camas flowers,
not the woman with her bandolier and blade.
The river could end. You could not miss it.
That river’s been long enough to believe almost
anything about the human heart, how it runs:
clear, or filled with silt, or dry.
Jennifer Minniti-Shippey is the managing editor of Poetry International literary journal, the director of Poetic Youth, and a professor at San Diego State University. Her chapbook, Done Dating DJs, won the 2009 Fool For Poetry Chapbook competition, presented by the Munster Literature Centre of Cork, Ireland. Her most recent chapbook, Earth’s Horses & Boys, was published by Finishing Line Press in March 2013. Her work has appeared in Tar River Poetry, Cider Press Review, Jackson Hole Review, In Posse Review, San Diego Poetry Annual and The San Diego Union-Tribune, among others.