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

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