I came here for the river, iron table
on wood at the water’s edge, for an imagined respite
of a midday meal by a somnolent laze,
broad and shallow on a smooth bed.
But here, now, I can hardly draw my eyes
from the leaves, brown-gold showers that rest and start,
as if a hand stirred each deciduous
bough at once. The measured drop of foliage,
sails, parachutes, a mix of species flocking on a draft,
all pausing together like a breath held
before the first note of Copland, or the even,
arresting drop of a veil, petals scattered before silk-shod steps.
And then, at once they’re loosed from limbs,
the sound the first staccato murmur
of drizzle on tin in spring,
wooden clatter of a mala stroked in meditation,
swarming beetles’ green wings
clacking as they wheel and pitch.
I think: I also have the air
to thank for this. The breeze that coaxes what’s spent
to let go, which invisibly resists the downward
torrent. Without this air by the river, in
meters per second per second
they’d plummet like shrapnel, ballast,
lead weight on the end of a line.
I sit in the dappled sun, with rice, squash and trout,
waiting on the surge.