It was a sad and ancient river
and it had a deep, murky golden brown
that leapt out of the bright and lush green that hugged its banks.
The oxbows dove and weaved around it
and one stopped
another stopped for a time And then split the river in two.
This oxbow had broken off from the ancient river
and then the river pushed back on its old banks,
Heaving and spilling out Into a crevasse.
The torrents gushed through the oxbow
and pushed onward through it
to meet the river’s course once again at the next bend.
The river was ancient and inviolable
And dove and weaved and folded in on itself for two million years.
In that river lay the snows of Canada. . .
The Eagle Mound of Poverty Point
The waves that lap its nearest banks
echo the remnant song of the hollow chanting of bone flutes. . .
The silts and clays and corn kernels of Cahokia. . .
Chitamacha pirogues, swimming for news of trade and the hunt. . .
The ghost of Abraham Lincoln’s flatboat
driftwood whirlpools now aching
for the memory of its brief and gliding caress. . .
Always flowing, always reminding one of timeless
comfort in rivers
comfort all flowing:
Into a city where sanctity and sacrilege
meet entangled in a plastic baby humid muck
at the threshold of a drainage gate
under the supervision of the New Orleans Sewerage and Water Board
A warm pollen disquiet reigns there near the Delta.
I place a whale bone under the doormat of Lucky’s
and whisper “I will come back for this, later”
only to be answered by the long song of creek frogs
enveloping the empty streets
where my attorney waits for me with a man in Alligator skin boots. . . .