East Fork, Whitewater River

The water here flows smooth
and quickly, half of the
river’s drop happening
in this county alone.
Past Test Road, at the bend
where the water is so still
so deep, churned logs take
years rising. Past where the
river dog-legs, and receives
Straight Creek’s gentle ditchflow
breaking two ways around
a shoal of fossily cobbles and
puzzle-toothed brickle of
limestone and shale, past the
calced cornucopia of horn coral,
teeth to the young, past stamped
bricks from locks and bridges:
Metropolitan, Townsend Block
washed down remnants of
mill walls. Here, a bank to bank
jam of trunks and dried flotsam
woven across every joint and crease
accepts water under, only
flow rolling quietly beneath
the last flood’s casual wall.
Past here. Past the rampik throne
of vultures, the terraced, clover-floored
hillside where Magritte-dreamed turkeys
float, past the deer ford and turtle-bask
cutbank, there is a rookery of blue heron
in a sycamore, pale-armed candelabra
of nests. Ten, for the siege.
Ten rough-sticked halos
above the green rivercourse.


When wind shakes light through the leaves
stillness gives them away
the perfect ess of their anguine necks
among gently rocking branches.


When they alight, it is
sky, like dark sky unfolding itself
into new weather
a whuff of wingbeats and coarse croaking
carrying their long-legged selves away
to the kingdom’s next bend
where, there, cliff swallows pack-in
beneath the bridge trusses
their round-mouthed pottery nests
teeming with entrances and exits of flight.
Beyond, the river runs past my map
into further rooms, stands, through
long green stretches of the edenvein
weaving its way to the Ohio, the sea,
the next long spell of rain to come.