What the River Says
The body is a source. Nothing more.
--Eavan Boland, “Anna Liffey”
I too compare my life frequently to a river,
small hidden beginning, final dissolution,
body charged with a name but always changing.
It is a place to live by, to keep a few chickens
or raise a city famous for its graceful bridges,
if one cares for good eating or reaching across.
On mornings when the rear courtyard is stony,
how enjoyable to walk to the water and hear
its gossip about the young lovers parting upriver.
The annual swelling is a power for great evil
but also a pregnancy. It carries boats and people.
For explorers, there is a chance of a waterfall.
Sinners, those hybrid creatures, like centaurs,
may drive their reluctant horses into the flood
and experience total absolution in an instant.
So, if my body is a river, I won’t dismiss it
as a source and nothing more. It is a source
of my voice but it is also my voice: that is
what the river says on its way to the sea.