Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Skagit river revising

I use this blog, in part, to let new poem drafts breathe a little, and later I go back and revise them online. I recently revised "Skagit River rising" enough I think it deserves a fresh posting.

Waters swell, silence
rapids underneath,
spread beyond the banks,
turning grassy paths into marsh, indistinct,
erasing boundary between the river and the land.
Eddies churn in circles
and crows watch the eagles skeptically.

Warnings buzz around our heads—
the list of tasks, reminders shouted from room to room,
radio waves and newsprint chattering predictions:
The river will overspill.

The woodpile by the barn, we tie it down
to stop the river lifting it, piece by piece,
to carry out to sea.
We move furniture and handtools
to higher ground, beyond floodwaters’ reach,
and stop to make a pact
with neighbors: our hands
are theirs.

Mount Sauk – its snowfall feeds the river –
lurks invisible behind the house,
behind the clouds we breathe.
Sadie barks. The air is cold and still.

Then the first fat drops
start a clatter on the corrugated roof,
falling heavy on our heads.

As waters gather,
mice abandon burrows, squealing
into open jaws of field and sky,
and the sky begins to sing
its ancient lovesong to the river.

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