Slender River

Canoes and cabins—wood,

                    narrowness, hours. Here’s boat-

shed, birth-room, cabin, and

                    coffin on riverbank,

made by old craft, arranged

                    like loved toys. A small craft

is what I too have, that

                    can float on paper or

a voice, whether I scribe

                    it or say it (in what-

ever weather or key,

                    alone or with others)

to the houses and dock

                    on the other side of

this steady dark current,

                    or to downstream places,

future places, persons

                    I don’t yet know. I might

find some rowboat shapes of

                    wordings moored close to each

other, rocking gently

                    like floating guitars till

finally they carry

                    away what they’ve held with-

in themselves for an hour

                    or a century or

forever—songs that folks

                    tell, stories that they sing.