We launched our boat at Grave Creek
that hard-cinched August morning,
Side slipping in the green mottled river road,
through iron canyons gone black
with the sound of native church drum thunder.
Great billows of pyroclastic stone and smoke,
echoing the roaring waters,
channeling the jet engined sky road down.
Drifting the river of our fathers,
their long bone femur oars
bedded and crackling in their oar lock cradles,
shouting under a crumpled and quickening sky,
clutching our sun wet crammed high
dreaming a fair weathering voyage down.
Across the from all sides
foaming, frothing, arrested, seething,
over the upturned faces of fallen sky gods,
tearing at every nearest hull,
spinning sideways through
the hair of drowning angels.
Down the shadows,
down the resounding eyelids,
down the ecstatic inklings,
through the feathery hot
marmalade swarm of monarch butterflies
exploding quietly around us
in a quilt of painted light.
Great blooded sea salmon
bending our rods like soda straws.
Cabins of moss and black bears fishing.
Then high rising high and over and over,
so terrible and slow my boat turning over,
into the gory rocked sea salt heaving,
sucker fish lamprey baited river,
only grebes for ballast,
into my long handled misery,
rolling, rising, turning
and into the foaming bright lands below.
Deep drilling sunlight now squeezing,
I’ve come to put an axe blade into believing,
my every breath not taken a boot lace threading,
Lungs imploding in the hard cascading…
finally a breathing
and above me monarch butterflies
stipple the sky above where no beauty lay
before I came to lie here beneath them,