The way wind beats us down then pushes us
forward, the way rivers braid then unbraid
themselves (letting water verb itself
into gravity’s rough speech), the way clouds
graze skies in search of each other’s thunder—
that’s the way we float here, to find sleep
on a slice of blowing sand. Five valleys
disgorge and pinwheel pleasures: lusty pike
and salmon, the pink purple flush of fire-
weed, juniper and alder and cottonwood,
the rivers’ bubbling browngray factory
of gravel, eleven hanging glaciers.
Why we come, how we stumble into one
another, how one door presents two more
and two always begs the choice of one—this
is river’s song to inner ear: as you choose
your line to run, it has chosen you so
well that physics seems simplistic. Go, flow.
In a constant state of merge, we open
and invade, clench, kiss, shimmy, suck and thrust
into tomorrow, prompting sequestered cells
to jell then split that years later will drop
us in our graves, their tears flowing down
in ones and twos, becoming twos and ones.