The Things We Know About Rivers
By David Holper
The things we know about rivers
aren't really about rivers
so much as they are the stories
we tell about ourselves.
Unlike us, a river does not think of its past
or the future that will empty its waters
into the sea. A river dwells in the moment
between moments, in the sparkling flash of
droplets over the rills, the way the sun stretches itself
on the broad back of waters, the way the sunlight sinks
into liquid turquoise blackness, as if to see something
the river cannot say about itself.
If and when the river ever speaks,
it does not say wet or chill or sunlight, it rolls and tumbles
river rock in its bed, singing a song so old we would not know
the words’Äîand even if we understood their meaning,
it would only be the image of waters flashing
in a scrub jay's watchful eyes,
as it takes flight into all that language fails
to know, into all that makes and unmakes us.