I’m trying to remember that moment
when the stream of time became
ruffled, dissonant, a small demarcation by which
I could plainly distinguish upstream from down,
the time when I first thought of you as old.
Perhaps the disconnect happened as I
looked up from gazing too long at family photographs,
your muscled tautness under plaid wool,
hairline just beginning its stealthy backward creep.
Or maybe it was those pebbles of deafness,
too many “whats?” scattered in a conversation,
small stones eventually
coalescing into an inert rock,
settled on the bottom, happy for the
river flowing freely above you but unwilling to
engage and send your unique curling
wave to the surface.
I am learning this new water,
learning to reach down,
slip my hands beneath, and
boisterously lift you into the
coursing current of our affairs.
How’s your wood supply holding up?
Are you keeping up on the earthquake news?
What do you hear out of Harney County?
You see, I'm not ready to let you go,
not ready to let you drop to the bottom,
not ready to leave you
staring quietly upward.