Floating, now, on another stratus,
Peering through the glass bottom of memory,
I see the length of the river
Spread on the ground
Like a dead snake, its violence reduced
To a slight, passive shimmer,
The black trees around it
Parting soft as grass.
I know the little bleached boat,
A rowboat, spinning
Rudderless through the bends,
And in it, the entire form of a woman.
She is low on the floor, completely below
The line of the water lapping
On the wooden walls of the boat.
She watches a sky
That is one undifferentiated cloud,
Gray and unbroken, a ceiling.
It seals the sun and rain
And all that springtime exuberance
Behind itself. It seals the geese
Out of heaven. It seals her in the boat.
She tilts her head,
Hearing a murmur of water
And listening for the separate, shining notes
Of single drops striking single drops
With all the force of the current.
Some branches come and go.
The boat turns slowly, crookedly,
Reversing on itself. I can’t read
The face of the woman, who is so small.