Stillwater Brown

Stillwater Brown

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.


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