Photo by Pat Tompkins

by Amanda Yskamp

What has happened to our beach? The river
has whittled a mere sliver beside the river.

The map is a static, flat metaphor for
the imploding origami of the river.

We raised our two children among
the pebbles and people of this river.

It is going, intransitive, living,
intransitive, its own object, the river.

Like a battered beauty, it takes it
again and again, and keeps on, this river.

When I think I am thinking as an act
of making, I am unmade by the river.

In the sharpest grief or pang, I cast
myself into the strong arms of the river.

Of all the luck to count as yours
just try to count the river.

To be so still and still moving,
Hope, take your lesson from the river.


About the photographer: Pat Tompkins is an editor in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her essays and poems have appeared in The Bark, Thema, Modern Haiku, and other publications.