By James Provencher
We walk the bank of the Nonesuch River
through Scarborough Marsh heading toward Pine Point.
We wind with the tidal stream through grey-green
raspy tussocks and pungent mudflats.
Where the ground goes flat in salt marshes
creeping and laced with creeks seeping
down to the sea, it billabongs and oxbows.
And you are with me walking nowhere
along the Nonesuch talking about nothing much.
I know now the river is us lost
in its sluggish confusions, some brackish
and muddy delay before surrendering,
lost in turning back upon itself in
circling hesitation where the land comes
to its knees flattening on its own slow
flow down to the sea, lost in coiled
channel labyrinths, a tangle of ropy
second thoughts and third thoughts caught
fast in the dark knot of deadwater pools.
Come to the last marshes and grass quivers,
the salt sharp and sweet, the pine islands
harboring deep scents and shade, the Nonesuch
loses its urge. It will be like this one day.
Even rivers that come rippling full-bodied,
brimming to their mouths, pushing into rising
tides, send up standing waves that curl,
whitecap, crane and bend back, wavering before
the merge with anything so large or final.