In the Middle of the Watershed

I sit on a rogue boulder
high in alpine fields
reading Gary Snyder.
My mind in the Rocky mountains,
I watch blue glaciers blanketed with toxaphene
running away from the heat.
I reflect on the silvery river below
mirror of change,
I turn to north, my eye to swollen river sea mouth
where floating whales blow toxic to the gills.
Oh weaving licentious river
all the dirt slides down your logged slopes–
I face west, where trout jump through rainbows
then disappear in silent drilling mud spill.
Eagles circle eyeing the thirsty river–
mind of twisting waters,
I turn east, my ear on stream waves
underground explosions of Westbank Water Wars
man’s globe is leaking, no neutral benedictions.
Oh mind of filtering
bones and eggs in foamy wet pools,
I face south, with SPF 306 sunblock on skin
no potions for mutant three-legged frogs.
Holy mind of dwindling rivers
in multi mega industrial watershed —
God they’re opening up the country
while closing down our ancient minds.
Look, we are the frogs, the whales, the eagles
we claim spawnage from ice age flows,
We are the Nobel Laureate trout
taking the river to an unmade bed.

~ Vivian Demuth

Vivian Demuth is a Canadian fiction writer and poet, whose work has appeared in literary journals and anthologies in the United States and Canada, including the Smoky Peace Press collections, Nose Mountain Moods and The Boreal Factor. She is also the author of a poetry collection, Breathing Nose Mountain. For the past twenty years, she has worked summers as a park ranger /warden or fire lookout in the mountains of Alberta. In the summer, she hosts an annual Poetry on the Peaks event at Nose Mountain. In recent winters, she has lived in New York City, where she has taught art and creative writing and worked in an outreach center for the city’s homeless. Vivian will be touring Western Canada this spring to promote her debut novel, Eyes of the Forest. For reading dates, please visit her website.

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