Thursday, August 29, 2013

29 August 2013


​We sit on rocks at riverside
in five o’clock sunshine,
remark on people
walking across the railroad bridge above us,
a little boy who doesn’t wave

because he doesn’t look,
a teenage girl who might be a railway worker
but probably isn’t,
a bicyclist guiding his upright bicycle
as if it’s a circus bear.
We search for fish — little ones —

notice clumps of kelp
bloated like camelback bladders,
wonder whether or not
the water will rise to cover

the rocks & us,
talk about mountain springs,
winter rain & deltas & brackish water,

how once a year the steelhead —
big fish — run, how for sure
we will return to watch them
& maybe fishermen will catch them,
how only this morning
a fisherman walked
to the slough behind my house,
how the kitten & I saw him set his pole
but didn’t see him land a big fish,
we wonder whether
the birds beyond the bridge
are ducks or gulls, whether crabs

wash up the river from the ocean.
Then I notice the man

walking up from his car
toward our orange stroller
parked off to the side, not so far
from where we sit, my granddaughter

between my knees at the start,
then alone on her own
smooth white rock in her red flipflops.
I watch his hand reach out
to take the stroller. My HEY!

surprises him, startles her.
Clutching my hand as we scramble
up to the stroller, she cries,
then curls into a snail
beside her pretend cat —
lets out a long forsaken wail
& begs to be taken home.

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