poem from January Thaw
by Bruce Guernsey
The mystery of water underground,
the dark stream where the dead kneel
cupping their white hands,
splashing the stillness from their eyes.
I drop a stone in ours to hear
if there's water for the children's bath.
And if it's dry, no sound—the pebble
a star, falling through the night.
Here, a rope once hung, a bucket
on its noose. Here, the cattle gathered
summer evenings at the trough,
their dull heads bowed.
No one fishes this hole, or ever did,
though in the cold, moonless pools
fins move through the dark,
deep in the ground, where spawning begins.
image by Victoria Woollen-Danner