A river is the white curve
of a hospital hall, where white-
coated figures are running. Look:
the back of the hand tells a story.

A river lives on memory, turning
over the stones. Boats of sticks
and leaves lean into the ducts
that conduct the creek beneath

the road. The river on the back
of the hand flows slowly, slowing
as if decades of leaves collect there,
dammed on the back of the hand.

A river turns in its bed, opening
and closing its mouth. It grinds
its teeth. You can do everything
right and still slip. You can slip

and do everything right, hands
at your sides, letting the river
have you, at least for a time.
It will do with you what it will.