River

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Through heat, high
rivulets of cicadas, sunlight
striking the bank
yellow as sulphur:
I see her

raise dress above head
for brilliant split second
her arms straight up:
I am the elders variously
shocked clean
their separateness gone in seeing
her body sleek as river stones.

The flung dress filled with air
coming down
gauze upon the ferns,
she folds into the whispering water.

Creation must have meant us
for other things. A lover?
I stand
in gauze light concealed
like some desolate old man

untruthful with truth
the beat of cicadas
deafening. Again
elder, apart, intense

cuckold of her skin:
I find her now less beautiful,
her face uneven, her thighs too thin,
and why this bathing by a clearing …

I walk towards her
my eyes are dark as river stones.
When she steps to the bank
I’ll stop the image.

But the river is a piano rattling on,
water that falls like brilliant scales.
I am carnal, hearing the crane’s voice
a throat breaking.

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