David Roderick




The river is an archive, a sound
000that finds its place between the stones,
a glance of history flashed in a fish

000 where trees kneel down to the water,
and among these shapes there are
000 men rippling over the surface, men lost

in a dream about trawling for eels,
000 for meat ribbed in fragile skeletons,
bones that would dry into toothpicks,

000 bodkins, pins, but the sound continues
regardless of tools, regardless of men
000 who try to enter its meaninglessness

with the aid of harnesses and ropes
000 or on the backs of nervous horses
wading into the wide parts, snorts

000 of concern for rising water, for legs
that could snap beneath its surface,
000 a fracture swallowed by a deep swell

that gaps the forest and fills its holes
000 with an ancient pain: sunburned
cheeks and shoulders, ruddy faces

000 rubbed in pools with traces of progress
beneath them, beds packed with artifacts,
000 dead meanings, hoof prints smoothed

by the mosses of bottom-dwellers,
000 but the sound backswirls as if to defy
physical laws, moves beneath shelves

000 of trees, mingles with sand into a word
that means river, that means return
000 with a bearable nostalgia to find

remnants of fish on the shore,
000 refuse after a meal, the hint of old
voices shaped by a hidden structure.