Between melts, the frozen river is slow enough
That the ice seems motionless.
Hard and gray it could be immobile until the high sun,
Shining coldly, opens the cracks that had closed overnight.
Floes move only in relation to the skeletal sycamores whose wide green
Leaves will block the view of the water in five months.
Not “short” months, the frozen ones are the longest.
Salvation is knowing the mud of March is weeks away.
How many would join me in hanging from those
Same sycamores if February had thirty one days?
He lumbers across the dark parking lot
Dragging his feet like bad dreams.
The golden light of his youth feathered
Through the leaves of the trees shading the stream.
Those he came with; who had brought him,
Had faded away; long-gone forgotten dreams.
Caterpillars and ants fell to feed the trout,
Or minnows which, in turn, feed the lunkers downstream.
When he fought, as he could feel he would soon,
His scarred knuckles pulverized the spots where once hung his dreams.
There was a chessboard in the attic where an empty spool stood for a bishop
And a plastic army man was the king-thrusting with bayonets and screams.