The mud of the Rio Grande does not easily release;
it anchors the ankles cold as the current rushes, directs
every liquid molecule to the source, even as the horizon
bruises beneath a veil of rain, spurring the heart to flight.
The kick of wind does not ruffle the birds; unhurried
they call from the basalt cliffs, careless of the spidery bolt
that severs and sutures heaven and earth. Untethered
in time, dry-feathered, they dive and catch while they can.
When at last it does fall it will come in savage sheets
of wetness and light from across the gorge, but in the midst
of violence the hail will gather soft among the cottonwoods,
and the essence of sage will suffuse the smallest of souls.
The mud of the Rio Grande clings to the toes, cleaves
to the moment, won’t relinquish its hold though you’ve flown
to the safety of cities, beheld yourself in mirrors less murky.
The absence in every storm returns you to the source.