His tired old eyes comb the far bank
searching up, down, for something new.
But only familiar sites catch his gaze
on the riverside. Root, branch, bubble.
Posed on a mossy pad, companied
by the nuthatch and warbler, perched.
Toes up, ankles crossed, arms intertwined
silent on his best behavior.
And only old thoughts simmer in his
wrinkled head, I think of her here.
My real love, calling.
He mutters, but no sound breaks over
the babbling water. Yet still a conversation
begins. A quiet one. Between his cracked
lips and the river mouth, long friends.
The birds join in, with their autumn
songs of leaving for warmer places.
Box elders twist and murmur
grateful for his attention, long given.
Cracked brows twitch over his steady view
he shuts his eyes as softly as he can.
Warmer places, leaving.
And open again, his eyes track upwards
to the trunk his back rests on, following
The willow branch, dipping into the eddy,
the tip, gently tugged by the current.
In the way they think, they are together,
man and water, they’d end up anywhere.
Rolling on and on to the tide’s embrace
swept into the deep threshold, sea and air.
This is his temple, a retraction
to He who set the springs running.
The Maker, beckoning.
Birdsongs stops, the river turns
to a whisper, in anticipation, he stands.
The water meets his feet, pulsing
over curled toes and again.
He pauses once more to think
about all he once knew and saw.
Wades further in, chest high
deep breath—slow plunge
Smiling, thankful, for time gave him
love enough to carry through.
Take me, water, sing me sweet and sleepy.
By Paul DiCiccio