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What's concerning

by John Walton



Palouse River

What’s concerning is not that 

sparrows are fluttering from the trees,

lurching in a riot of distant wind, 

but that it’s due to rain tonight.

Below this footbridge

the water passes so slowly

that if it weren’t for 

the narrow yellow leaves 

floating along its dark, 

immutable surface,

it wouldn’t seem to be moving at all.

And this rain is due to change this. 


Upstream, the stone lip 

this river falls over will change,

from its curtain of silence

to a pitching rush of water. 

The quail within 

the shaded canary grass

will either drown or run far away. 

And the willow tree 

whose leaves continue 

serenely past me,

will have exposed yet another root. 

But there’s no gloom here. 

Things will only continue moving. 

My heart will only be beating. 

These leaves will only continue assimilating,

as this bridge becomes a stitch,

as these clouds gather 

while I breathe in and out,


as this river changes entirely, 

while not really changing at all.

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