The River Rose to Love the Rower

29 October 2017

As he pulled back on the oars,
his arms flexed out of line
with the rocks he passed,
rocks that jutted like teeth worked crooked,
teeth that had been robbed of their beauty.

He rowed into the incoming
tide, the flesh of which
the crooked teeth bit into,
ripping open the grey skin.
No dreaming caressed the rower’s mind.
His was raw effort, out
along the course he had mapped
in his head, a course his oars
stroked with a depth,
tenderness-driven.  A smile of satisfaction
etched itself beneath the intense
expression on his face.  At each stroke,

the river was his, and rose
to meet him, away from the dentally
mangled rocks, away from being robbed
by the linda-like tide turned violent.

As the rower rowed home
he brought the river with him,
suturing where the rock teeth had torn
the river’s flesh,
the rower, in passing, become healer.

Philip Kuepper
(23-24 October 2017)

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