Idiot River
I am lolling on the banks of an idiot river.
Soon there will be more just like me,
carrying baskets and searching.
When I walk the river’s bank
in the morning, I can see the river softly
staring at me with its wet eyes. What does it know,
having had nothing? Having lost nothing?
I turn to rest, laying my head
on the soles of my shoes
so I can run away in my dreams. When I wake,
the idiot river is standing over me,
its soft face shimmering. It does not speak
so I ask what it wants
and the river motions to the land
behind me, the mountains and desert
to the west, the tall cities to the east.
I say what we all must, eventually, admit
when we are in love. The river remains mute.
It takes nothing. Offers nothing.
I suggest we work toward an even exchange
of our labors. I will speak for us both
if only the river will carry me
on its broad back toward wherever it is
that it is going. Still, the river doesn’t speak.
It begins to offer a low whistle beneath the trees.
I can give you almost everything.
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