The Coulee

Irwin Caplan

Irwin Caplan

In the failing light
the river flows in quicksilver
through the endless wild canyons
their ridges running from a soft purple
to a deep blue where they meet the mercury
There’s no wind at this hour No sound
the rocks along the coulee walls
having achieved over seasons
the angle of repose

Whatever lives here
lives deep or it doesn’t live
A lone pine on the upper ridge
gnarled and scarred by forgotten fire
stands a sentinel upon the scattered scree
while deer thirsty with the day silently
creep down to the water’s edge
From the middle of the flow
a fish leaps at a star

“Land is a poured thing and time a surface film
lapping and fringing at fastness, at a hundred hollow and receding blues.
Breathe fast: we’re backing off the rim.” ~ Annie Dillard


About Peter Notehelfer

I'm a retired people person who now finds the time to watch the little details of the world without worrying about being watched by anyone . . . I live on an Island north of Seattle with my wife named Ellen, a yellow dog named McGee, a yellow cat named Gatzby, and four fine chickens . . . I read fiction, bake bread, smoke salmon, and fish whenever the weather allows . . . Oh, and yes, I try to write a poem every day simply to avoid senility!
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