In a Rapid So

E.A. Greenwell

much happens—water
Folded over
Folded over water
As it rains on
The folding
Hands of those whom
Came & camp
Out & lit driftwood
Fires against the
Rain & wear jackets
Against the rain
& light on
Makeshift slabs of
Bench stone they stack
Under bigleaf
Maples having begun
To shed
Broad as dinner plates
Leaves turning
Lemons turning
Golds turning
Over in the wind &
Clung to sand like
Dali’s clocks among
Those who continue
To arrive &
Most of them strangers,
To wait out these
Most open-ended days
For saving what
Now, at this point, we
Must face &
Call only our own
Dignity shimmering
Beneath the surface like
A stained glass
Window—the worn life
Vest, blue &
Red, pinned beneath
A boulder & faintly
Rippling like
Magnified handfuls of
Raw amethyst
For several painstaking
Days behind a
Wall of unbreakable
Water breaking
Around the boulder of
Granite & flat black
Peridotite, which
Might seem
Like a rather bookish &
Tangential fact
Embedding itself here
In this unfolding
Tragedy if it weren’t
For the utter
Relevance of
Its composition, its
Welled up periods &
Periods ago from
Mantle rock tempered
In frigid ocean
Trenches & pressed
Upwards by
Unbearable plates of
Rock flaking in
To ranges sandblasted
By by-winds &  
Unnerving palsies of
Ice, rendering it—once
Having cleaved
Loose & careened
Down & having
Lodged itself
Here in the base of this
Canyon when, perhaps,
No ear yet
Resistant to the constant
Elastic pounding
Water, water
As diffusive as & as
Relentless as an edge of
Space where stars are
Leavings of
Their own otherworldly
Light behind as
This is written, & this
Is written, & so
As that edge expands
Rapidly they, the stars,
Cannot at such
Unfathomable but
Reckonable trajectories
Ever redeem
Like young lovers
The dark gulfs that now
Engulf them,
Those stars, not the
Young lovers, children
Of our children’s kids’
Kids, whom, if they sit
Beneath biggerleaf
Maples or smallerleaf
Maples, semblances
Anyway of Acer
Macrophyllum, might sit
One clinching in
Farts while the other
Turns aside  
To cough twice, lightly,
Two blue plumes of
Breath that
Fade & become part
Of the invisible
Barrier they
Wait for any & every
Chance to break—strands
Across an eye, grazing
Certain & accidental-like—
But for now they are
Here, just
Sitting there, underneath
Clear &
Empty sky that begs a
Relative question how
Do they persist in the
Years after the
Astronian period, & if
We’re quiet we
Might hear them, barely
Audible above
The gurgling river, how
They do it, sharing
Legends against a hard
Dark of someone’s
Body pinned
For eleven days in high
Water while
Rescuers pitch a tent
City & smoke ribs &
Sing & wait too, for her
Remains to be
Delivered from
The rapid, curling like
An indigo
Gown in the throes of
Rhumbas our minds
& their minds
Shape to bear
That crease of ceaseless
Water she slips
Out of one
Night, finally, drifting
Then, when no one
Watches & moonlight
Shines dimly through those
Unfortunate clouds.

Originally published in Moss: Volume Three.
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