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March 20, 2023

The Volume of a River

By Ursula McCabe

The Volume of a River

She's an old river,
this mother of all mothers --
the Columbia.
Her mouth gapes open,
striped tankers
spew out from her tongue,
they squat like patient beetles
waiting for upriver berths.

This river, she fed villages
built towns, mended souls who gobbled the
fleshy pink fish of the west,
the hooked nosed salmon
who jump like goats
over ladders, rocks, felled trees,
all to find their birthright,
a stream to create life
and then die.

This river she holds us all prisoner,
but we don't complain,
she's also a fluid coffer that
eases our disquiet,
our regrets quelled by her
choppy waves.

I watch the cormorant skim close
to the river,
its oily sable feathers shine.

Sucking my belly muscles tight
I join the bird
for a low flying day
over river's depth.

Article © Ursula McCabe. All rights reserved.
Published on 2021-09-27
Image(s) are public domain.
1 Reader Comments
12:58:21 PM
A great poem that invokes images of man's ambivalent use of this mighty resource. Well Done!
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