In the fable, my hand hovers
over the heart of the river
and something is wailing
in the corridors of the sea.

It takes no vain crow
or woodsman wiping his bloody axe
on the white scarf of the snow
to know we have something other
than boys pretending wolves
circle the forest of our fears.

The river’s pulse slackens
sick from venom
spreading through the blooming sump
along the tidal bitten crust of land—
pierces the blue shield of the limping crab.

In the fable, two osprey
give themselves to the river,
becoming four as the stars rise
into a story-wheel where we might read
the consequences of indifference.

In the fable, we are passengers
who have come to this suffering river
to shed our different languages
and to become one healing song
under a moon bright as water.