the river within us – Duncan Richardson

The river is within us
– T.S. Eliot’s “The Dry Salvages”

The river is coming.
What to take what to leave
where and when to go.

Her belly full of trouble
the river rushes for the sea
arms probing to feel the silt of us
tussling with tree roots and cars
taking tribute to distant waves.

Her track is pure tradition
but change is always possible.

Fruit bats take to the clear sky
searching for the veins
of river that they knew.

She snakes and squeezes into hidden places
whispering into cupboards
into roofs
bringing bottles, boxes, bins, tyres
showing what will float
and how far

At four am the dead hour
not meant for human eyes
she reaches her height.

Dawn shimmers on her reptile skin
to silent watchers on fresh shores

Slowly she slips back taking here
leaving there
solid as a dream
tide marking the day
coating our dreams.

After the cleaning
after the mud
months will flow into years
remembering things
gone with the ripples
the other side of the flood mark

Grief bubbles pop and re-form
as we try to learn
the trick of buoyancy