by allen braden
— for Kevin Miller
Ice in a riverbed: a word
In your mouth: each remembers
The other. Your joy only
One reflection: the way grease
From a boy’s palm darkens
A page. Each time perishable
Freight thunders by, he feels
Hopeful: The girl he’ll leave
Flexes her calves deliberately
Every rung up a picker’s ladder
In Coup’s orchard by the river.
How can anyone make a living
Of departures: when crossing
The line can mean nothing
But distance, a vanishing point
Beyond which light won’t enter?
I mean when the river’s iced over
Horses, a few then hundreds,
Surge across: like one current
Over another: liquid and solid.
Come spring, quick thaw spells out
Sacrament: Or is that sacrifice?
“Juxtaposition” first appeared in Poetry International.