The river

Here is where I can sit for hours,
here in this place, on this bench,
where I watch the Ohio River
glide by.

Sometimes when I am especially quiet
I see families of white-tailed deer
stepping delicately into the river
for a morning drink.

Sometimes geese fly along the top of the water
and then plunge into the river,
honking at each other
to stay out of their glidepaths.

Sometimes the town church bells play
delicate songs that I can’t quite place
but are somehow also familiar
and sweet.

Sometimes I walk through wildflowers
on the grounds of the old hospital
and the blue jays call out all around me
and wild turkeys scurry across the path.

I know all the stories here:
those who drowned in the river,
those who married and raised families,
those who still haunt the graveyard.

I can imagine growing old here,
spending peaceful hours watching the river,
being with the river,
slowly becoming part of the river itself.

4 thoughts on “The river

  1. I feel calmed and hopeful after reading this three times – once silently and then aloud. Your introduction reveals that you prefer solitude, and this poem shows how you make that time alone valuable. I will gently argue that you are connected to others because of the way you notice, observe, and “witness” others’ stories in knowing the many stories of people’s lives.
    Have you read _The River of Consciousness_ by Oliver Sacks? Your writing made me think of his symbolism and various ponderings.
    This is an exquisite poem!

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