READING THE WATER
(Jackson Hole, October)
Up-country, Indian summer:
basins fenced in by fault cliffs;
the pause before autumn flash-
freezes in sere polar air.
Dry ends dance to the tambourines
of aspen rattling their twinned leaves,
cottonwoods bowing in calm
plumed grace above the creek beds.
It is the sense of space and
permanent returns that stays.
Hiking the high lakes, a hundred
square miles before you, you stand
on the backbone of continents,
breathe with the breath of the Dawn Horse,
reading the rocks like water,
like a natural recording of flow.
In long curved riffles cut by
shoaled gravel, trout park, out of fast
channels, red fins fluttering: heads to
the current, like pointers in a breeze.
From Watered Colors (2014)