TESTING THE WATER (remembering Scott Hutchison)

A flow we seek to capture,

bridge or channel, yet cannot confine.

Lithe as mercury, slipping fingers,

it is held in brush-stroked cloud

and then let fall, rattling on rooftops.

Pools, unstirred, collect

the tension of drip, drip droplets:

mirror-flat, refract our point of view,

reveal all kinds of surface.


Of running water, folklore says

that no enchantment can survive it.

To know the end you go to, be the stream,

not a stick that’s spun at source.

Ride the impulsive rapids to middle-age

meandering, no cataracts in sight.

At the delta of days, silt-laden

reach the surf; then fathomless beyond

swim until you see no land.

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