PARKED AT THE WHITE SALMON RIVER, READY FOR WORK

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Late Spring 2013

On Wednesday morning, I wait for Ray Miller at the mouth of the White Salmon.
Working on a rich woman’s horse barn today.
Power wash, scrape old wood and if the water dries in time
mask windows.
Tomorrow paint the barn the color of a deep bruise
of blood pooled under the skin.
Spray and back brush. Get paid Friday.

Over the truck hood see the moon just past full
blanched by morning sun but still visible in cloud.
Hear the call of mourning dove across the White Salmon
sound decaying in fog.

News on radio of the Tongue River flood, Cavalier, North Dakota.
There is a river moving through me uncontrollable as a woman.
Cattle drowned, horns caught in exposed roots of cottonwoods
floating on their bloated sides, tongues still moving
in the current.

Words want to form in my mouth that taste of dewberries
words that follow me
as little winds turning oak leaves in a circle.
Lies about safety and salvation that flare in the mind
but disappear before they can be spoken
though the tongue keeps moving.

Ray parks next to me, gets into the truck and I come back to myself.
The moon, the morning dove, the White Salmon and the fog are bodies
I am alive in.
Train whistle, barge horn, shriek of osprey diving into the Columbia for salmon
speak for me.

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