Midnight, far up a Little South feeder
under a canopy of white periwinkle
and black velvet, I squat in the shallows
smoke, listen to the river's night talk. Upstream,
an hour before, I heard noise, foreign,
the kind men make
when they're not wise
to the night river.
More than that, or less, I'm not sure which. The sound
eats at me like the cow elk
trying to leap the Black above Blue Lakes,
way up north,
landing short, yards between us,
she snorted fear or disgust,
I couldn't say which, only that she raised a wave,
a seiche that darted past me,
too small to surf,
made the female Adams wiggle just right,
drew a lusty strike from a native
with a strong green back
masterfully vermiculated, as good as Buonarroti.
The new sound will not relent; I imagine
an invitation to look, but smoke on it
as the Nish-naw-be did when there was thinking to do.
A voice called, rather I thought
there was a voice, sweetly estrogenic,
this a certainty,
calling me up the river, a siren beckoning
in my cortex where unthought piles up
in its own order;
I went, mouth dry, against the current
legs shaking in the dark and saw,
sitting on a rock, the river glowing blue at her feet.
A delicate hand drawn from the water;
Seeds, she said, of me.
I felt the comfort of her smile.
Fearful of silence, I could not help myself.
Do I know you?
Imperfectly, she said. Which is to be expected. You think
too much. I've watched you.
I'm not sure what to say.
A laugh, soft as wind chimes,
Is speech so important? Sit beside me,
which I did until light swallowed her.
You can never know the river
until you spend the night,
holding her hand in silence.