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Although I haven’t too much
missed the poetic pull of rivers
these banks so often overflow.

I confess cold waters hold
their own mystery in absence
where once I waded in its murmur.

I’m fishing now- just south of here
on the Yampa River. Surface ripple —
beaten by prairie winds — gusts
further on- hills as seas of silica
sanded dunes dotted by horsetail clouds.

Where drought has wagged its thirsty tongue
fish and farmers pray for rain.
River, I have missed you —
both of us so dry.

Have known you well — each bend,
each branch, drop offs, pools and husky rapids
parched now in dusty metaphors waiting the sky
to sing with storm and thunder rumbled arias.

Sometimes there are nibbles
enough for me to reline.
Casting, casting, casting only
to cast again into silence.

One remembers the river when
all burdens of bait went spinning
down from headwaters — lures of love.

Every bite thought a trophy
onto itself — it could not measure up
just enough to tease a rise.

To see, to feel —
a line run wild upstream taut tight
this desire to hold what could not be —
like love — so difficult to capture.

Maybe — like you, the river, slips

away beneath boulders into the deep
currents carrying its own passing
weighty song out to verb beaten seas.

My whole life became a river —
imagine that! The flood so real
rising each day as if by joy —

By night I am tired of holding
my breath, this silly broken pen
a chubby moon yelling down
shadows onto ripple-laced waters
receding further into death’s drought.

The river seems higher now — washed
by light between banks broken shoreline.

I know too well I will dive — dive again
back into myself to retrieve a snagged
line and be grateful — as this river is mine.


David R. Bowman received a degree in creative writing from Oakland University, Rochester, Mich. His poems have appeared in The Atlanta Review, Pea River Journal, Badlands, Wayne State Review, and Old Northwest Review, among others.

© 2018, David R. Bowman

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