The Garonne

             from The Perfume of Leaving

 The Garonne River, Auvillar, France

The Garonne River, Auvillar, France

When I let the river answer
     instead of the tolling bell
          that measures each breath of my day—

          instead of deep basses, chattering
      grunts and squeals of frogs
that echo my busy thoughts—

When I let the river answer
     instead of the wind fussing grasses,
          sun targeting some things, leaving others in shadow—

          When the cottonwoods sigh their blooms— 
     When beaver dams dry high on the banks—
When poplars scribble green across the sky—

 ripples soften time's illusions,
    wavelets lapping legato, largo
         fluid and static, a center, balance restored