Dry Creek

A flock of Dark-Eyed Juncos are flittering
near the portal of my cave while I sit here,
gazing straight ahead, not moving at all.
I wanted this: to be still, unmoving,
even when a Mountain Jay descends
out of nowhere and spooks the Juncos,
even when the splattering rain begins.
Even when the light in the sky goes dark,
I will remain motionless, maybe for hours,
or for the time it takes to hush every thought,
every impulse to have it be other than it is.
Then, when the loud hikers trampling in the forest
pause for a moment, thinking that they may have
heard something further back in the darker woods,
it won’t be me. I’ll be quiet, I won’t move at all.
I was sitting, learning the trick of patience. It is
difficult at first. Gradually, the noise gave up.
Gradually, the silence superseded ambition.
It’s true what they say about wanting.
Desire was a stream that became a trickle.
It became a dry river bed, filled with the ghosts
of former fishes, now nameless in their absence.
There are fading grooves in the air they left behind.
Sometimes when my eyes close, I remember them —
their lovely rainbow colors, the way they darted
over the glistening stream stones, always moving,
moving, moving in and through the everlasting light.
Now they are quiet. They are not moving at all.
They’re like statues of themselves, like museum fish
mounted in the air, their hearts resting in the God,
their slippery spirits gone, gone, gone beyond.
This is how it may be with us: we will just stop moving.
The parts we thought of as ourselves will crumble back
into a dry creek bed. Then a trickle of melting snow begins,
later a tumbling brook, teeming with urgent darting minnows.

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