Riparia Suites

The River Between Us.

“He sought to touch you and found he could not find you,
he sought to understand you but could not hear you.”
Conrad Aiken


Watershed

for M

yes,
I am

writing
to you –

even
now,

even
though

this
river

lives
between

us.

.


Brackish Waters

The river
is insistent

and yet
our conversations

are modest,
are constantly

moving
she is always

repeating
herself never

repeats herself
repeats herself

in the damp blue
dusk of rustling

leaves.
in the sky

circling,
with herons

.


The letters I write you

are in the amber color

of sap

oozing from our
carved

initials

laying on top
of each

other.

a talisman –

expanding
each

year
the white sycamore

at the bend of

the river

The River

.


Down River

at the rivers
edge

river mud
running

through
my fingers

watch it fall
back into

the water
small brown

rivulets
moving fast

away from me
down river

a stag
leaps

across

.

Weave of water

While you
sleep

I send you
small birds

to weave
words

into your
hair

but the river
holds me

.

back
instead she

weaves herself

Did you wonder
why on waking

the damp
pillowcase?

.

Crested

When
the river

rises

I send
my

armada
of paper

boats
to you –

have you
looked

in
the trees

my navy
beached

on
branches?

A sudden
breeze

will
bring

me
to you.

.


Augury

The sun
falls

past leaves
onto

words that
float in

and out
of currents

I try
to read them

as they pass
but the ravens

have
their nests

to build

.

Waist deep in water

She
weaves

red
thread

into
river-water

the dusk
around her

rests on rivulets,

alights on
gold

leaf
spin

casts
small shadows.

across
bare skin

She
Now sings

rocks
a lullaby

rocks
the river

On the
shore

a paper
boat

on a
bedside table

the bed
the child

his eyes
get

heavy
and

heavier

.


Sleep

I follow
the floating

faint glow of
lamp light in

and out
of trees

on the other
shore

The greening
river sings

sings
a lullaby

sings me
to sleep


Alluvium

the river crested
last night

drowning our
garden-

Even from envy
a deep silt

offering for
next spring.

Maybe
one

more

spring

.

To White

this
morning

the light
changed

around
a small

child’s
wagon-

around
the first

birch leaf to
finally

let go of all
that green-

exhausted
by its

own
exuberance.

Did you notice?

.


Oxbow

My
conver-

sations
with

her
are

constantly
changing,

she is
always changing her-

self, she is
always

the same
always

changing

Rain
falls from

leaves –

Small circles
quiver

on the water
leaves shake

in
the

reflection
shake

off
their green

move
to-

ward
gold

.

Babel

sometimes
it’s to loud

that I walk
away

from the river

walk into
the forest

through dusty
cathedrals

of light
to pray

to return
to return always

as the river
returns

.


River Rocks

She is always
arriving

always
leaving

I am still

here
on the shore

throwing stones
over the river’s

undulating
body

This morning
did you

hear their
damp dead

thump

among

the damp fallen

leaves

calling to you?

.

Chill

there is a
chill in the air

can you feel it?

I raise my
collar

imagine a long
coat for you

Take eat this
the body

of my
prayers

.


Singing

it’s been
too long love

since I looked
forward

to winter

Maybe that
comes with

reading the
migration of

certain birds
or the tracks

of coyotes
left in

the dust
under a full

moon or the
shedding skin

of the snake
coiled in

my chest

.

Broken China

A winter for
the spring
that never came?

I’m singing
alone
in the kitchen

the river that lives
between us
sings with me

We’ve become closer,

but she doesn’t know
everything

Did you find
the bundled
sticks and river

stones I left ?

.

Breath

The nights
are getting
colder

have you notice

I am
no longer
speaking

.

Towards the south

I
walk

the
length

her body
where

buckle
berries

bend at
the bank

drink
long and

slow
I wander

up
to the

top
of a hill

where
couriers

have
brought

urgent
tele-

grams
written

on red
and gold

leaves

“Be of good cheer.”

.

Memento

for now
I look down

the length
of the river,

her long
bluegreen

body
curves

north
We have

not spoken
for awhile

I look to
the horizon

look
forward

to winter
like when

we met

— Remember?

Remember.

.

Take Leaves

Leaves
are falling

freely
spinning

bobbing
the river

takes them
caresses

holds
them

afloat
past

trout hiding
under the roots

of a black tupelo
under

the almanac’s
torn out

pages

.


The Last Stones

The river is
always

between
us will

always be
But

I am not
like

her
I place

the last
black stones

on top
a wall

the un
finished

bridge

I take
water

from her

in
cupped

hands
a red

leaf
turns

in
circles.

The Effigy

I walk
the river

My hair
has grown
long

My beard
a nest for

sparrows
I gather

feathers
fallen from

birds in flight

arrange
sticks
and stones

river mud
and leaves

into an effigy
dress it

in my shirt
and pants

put prayers
I have written
you

where my
heart would

be.

leave it
on my

side of
the river

naked
I wade into

the river
wash my

self of
my sins

lay quiet
on the shore

dry in the air
stand

small leaves stick
to my skin.

I walk
the river

turn south
and walk

away
singing

your
name

.


Snowfall

at last the
snow fall-

ing

So quiet
the world

is
whispering

I’ve been
looking for-

ward to
every-

thing being
so white

so white
and

so quiet
like after

a
lullaby

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