When the river is sluggish,
it calls by name the minion
of birds who slave its bank.
Some forms of loneliness
are like worry. See the egg
fallen from its nest? There,
a grounded fish gasping for air.
White pines pressing the river
know too well the meaning of dread:
in winter, frozen, cracked, breaking;
in summer strangled by torrential winds.
At sunrise, light bends down to touch
the river's bones, clouds reflected
in its eyes; at last, the waters swell
and rush away.