Clam Digging in the Battle River

That summer wild raspberries flamed
on the banks of the Battle River
as we blinded through murky waters
searching for clams. The air smelled of eternity,
the summer promised a life bigger than a town.
Filling a bucket with dark rocks of shell
we conjured the palpable curve of the future:
you would pilot a plane so high
above the land the moon would be
your sole companion, and I would go west,
skip words over the shifting light of water.
When you touched my hair I could not look at you
or the hungry mouth of sky. We gathered
buck brush and dried grass for the fire
as a hymn of hornets hung above us.
The clams danced over white flames
until their reluctant shells surrendered.
Inside they were all muck and disappointment.
I gave the shells back to the sweep of water
as you called to me from the other shore.
The air that summer, full and sweet.
Yes, that’s what I remember best.
Only the ancient river doesn’t question the way.

~ Rosemary Griebel

Rosemary Griebel’s poems have been published in a variety of media including literary magazines, CBC Radio, on buses, anthologies and in a chapbook edited by Patrick Lane. She attributes her appreciation of light, space and language to growing up on the Canadian prairie.

2 Responses to “Clam Digging in the Battle River”

  1. This is a beautiful poem. I loved the alliteration, but the strong imagery was best.

  2. I saw, felt, tasted, touched. Just beautiful. I too write poetry wonder if we are related?

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