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The Stream Flowing


I remember the creek that ran beside the golf course,

slow and black over rocks; patches of snow;

withies of willow streaming out in the wind,

born to it and, I imagine, bowing and scraping.


I would sometimes sit there shivering and looking out

at the flagless frostbitten greens, the naked trees

that bordered the bleak fairways and a sky

the ashen color of longing and disappointment.


Early winter, it was.  And then I remember

the girl I brought there one night—the summer after?

We lay deep on the grassy bank, almost hidden,

and I touched her warm secret hair for the first time.


I can still hear the sound of water pushing by us,

the sound of her breath in my ear as I touched her there,

my stiff boyish hand trembling against her belly.

Her name was June.  I could feel a pulse where I touched.


There were little lights in the breathing darkness around us.

Her eyes were closed and I was looking past her

at nameless summer stars and pulsing fireflies

and what must have been houses far off in the night somewhere.


Nothing else happened there.  We were afraid,

and lay in the matted crush of the maidenhair

and chilly rivergrass.  We could smell the night

and see the willow cascading over our heads.


I remember the last time I went there, alone and older,

three or four winters later.  The clear water

was still flowing, now between snow-covered banks

and white fields stretched away to the hem of the sky.


One day melts into another and into years,

twenty years that flowed on and lost themselves in the sea.

Where is June, and the boy that she held to her body

on that bank once?  Well, useless to think of her now,


and useless to think of the boy, by now a man—

each with a husband or wife, in a house far off

in the midst of another life, where I remember

the fern verging that stream and the stream flowing.


Robert Mezey



From Collected Poems: 1952-1999, University of Arkansas
Press, © 2000.  Reprinted by permission of the author.

by Grapholina

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