DRY RIVER

Our country uncle

has an old hunter’s tricky eyes.

He leads us

under a rotting log bridge

into the riverbed

to spot rabbits

hidden behind

dangling tree roots.

 

I breathe the air

in the channel’s flow,

my lungs calm and controlled

as the rabbits we have come to kill.

 

Our boots crunch stones and mulch

as we step the river’s course.

Beyond the second curve

we file up a ravine

that rises and lopes through cottonwoods

onto the prairie.

 

Just before I reach the ridge

the memory of another river

holds me back,

its name and place and time unrecorded

except for my silt blown eyes and whirling hair,

my body tumbling its murky passage,

me waking in the wet dark

from that nightmare of my own drowning.

 

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