The River

Poem by Susan Thomas

If the obstacles to waters are permanent,
the deep places of the rivers caused by them
will also be permanent.

—Leonardo da Vinci

The obstacle is time—beginning with
the second hand, its sweep through sixty,
heartbeat in tow; the minute hand, hostage to
a horde of pleadings (“do you have a few?”);
hours that labor, portion out the gold
of days that press against clear, star-filled nights;
weeks that are ushered in, commence and end,
that gather into months of ceremony
years, whose incremental steps retrace decay;
decades, whose uniform is war, whose
refugees shape the will of centuries—
And the hollow formed in the riverbed?
That would be you, river dreaming you,
earth’s measured song.