I have lusted after rivers
etching Picassos into hillsides,
mapping a handvein future we won’t understand
until it’s history.
I’ve been lured downwind and downslope,
fumbling across moss rocks and pebblebrook
to be enveloped in a tributary’s yawn.
I’ve made withdrawals from riverbanks
that I can never repay,
save for deposits of flat stones
I’ve taught loved ones to skip softly.
and when it was time to leave,
I’ve tarried knee-deep
where the current slows to a pool,
where the water at my shins is warm and still,
but my feet can still feel the low cool tug.
i’m eating a donut in the shower
and reciting your poetry like a spell,
hoping desperately to conjure
your amused apparition
halfway through your chapbook
i can see your edges,
a chalk outline that fled its inceptive scene
your stanzas mark time on a calendar
less gregorian than lunisolar,
tracking the full moons since we fell in love—
and look how far the dippers have moved.
i come to the last verse
that you finished in the village,
transcribing the arched Empire
as it crooned low
in magic hour
your best lines become my mantras,
soulfood when i’m hungry and
sleepchants when i’m lying awake,
and now finally, refrain, i can
see your face