RECENT POEMS

SPRING FLOOD

The river is undertaking its very own
spring cleaning—ridding itself of clutter
on its banks, flushing trash from currents—
where from we might ask as it throws up
onto land arrowheads and spear points,
a pair of darning shears from the days when
settlers arrived, when natives still hunted
bison, and from later still, keyboard of

a discarded piano, broken candlesticks,
a small wooden cross rubbed smooth over
stones and a porcelain horse head, perhaps
Chinese, then skull of a long-horned
steer, large rounded stones delivered eons
ago by glaciers, tusk of a mammoth, jumble
that hinted at people from 15,000 years ago
who later built Chaco Canyon pueblo four

stories high, with its 650 rooms, planted
sunflowers, gourds, lived in thatched homes.
The river makes no comment until I
translate its roar or murmur, what it
might tell of the myths of grasslands, Hopi
stories not found in books. But I’ve got
my history upside down, or at least jumbled---
Is it true you do what you have to do? Or

that what you do is what it is. . . .You said,
Look deep into my eyes, is that the heavens?
Watch the beveled moon in the center of
each pupil, what wishes are embedded in that
pale moonscape? A tiny rover walks the pale
dust of craters and endures whirlwinds, clouds
which means water somewhere, maybe a way
out of absolute desert, even butterflies migrating.