Years Between Rivers With My Father

I have seen fog like this before;
the first time we sailed the Alabama River,
with its slow, aching curves. Lost,
groping for days through southern steam.

This night, frail sounds die on shore,
and we are left with our voices, and water.
Barges echo like humpbacks in the locks,
while our forgotten boat speaks about nothing.

The shift of old wood and loose oars
stops; the common silence of nature heard
as rotted limbs drift to the river’s mouth,
and the grey damp of June becomes my skin.


Copyright © 2004 Linda Schaible

Bain-Swiggett Poetry Prize, University of Tennessee



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