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by Kylan Rice

for Margaret Young

river easing into the hills
like a sunday drive
and we stood thigh deep in the heavy
marsupial ripples of the water
with fishing lines, flies tied
like blood truces. the steelhead
tripping upstream were voices in a storm and
it was spring.

we watched the water, thin
scooping wrist bones, silent bangles, as it caught
rims of light and slipped them against the shore,
mutely kneaded for warmth and color
as a hand held in hospital,

through the meadow
that we would camp in, with its
poppies like nextdoor gunshots.
and at dawn, the memory of mist through roots.
as we gutted bright fish—slow coughed fumble
of viscera—you sweated
like a summer night with the windows open.

snug currents
wrung through stones—i remember
that a river is not repeated
like blood,
or apologies.

this makes these afternoons
less difficult.