Why hasn’t the day’s peril
yet soaked the bank’s gravel
for pupa, larva, nymph, and prey?
Maybe it has and I just can’t tell.
All I know is the brown still mines
my mimic here, much like before,
a panner after pretty plugs,
coyoting wagon wheels
without a surface sign.
But like the forty-niner,
this brown long jumped my claim.
What once held only whities
soon followed drifts off veins,
crevicing sinkers between colors,
pulling bonanza from borrasca,
a shindy in the gangue.
Now I am grubsteak
wading the brown’s gumbo,
a sourdough with a shutter
smelling of dreams with fur and hair,
stampmilling it here between moss and rod,
the river a breath and sight for two.
Who’s fishing who?
Maybe a horse throws it to the wind,
but soon we‘re both back to the lode
high grading placers,
the Stillwater our sluice,
a memory of things to come.