The Road That Runs Beside The River
follows the river as it bends
by Thomas Lux
along the valley floor,
going the way it must.
Where water goes, so goes the road,
if there's room (not in a ravine,
gorge), the river
on your right or left. Left is better: when you're driving,
it's over your elbow across
You see the current, which is
what the river is: the river
in the river, a thing sliding fast forward
inside a thing sliding not so fast forward.
Driving with, beside, the river's flow is good.
Another pleasure, driving against it: it's the same river
someone else will see
somewhere else downstream -- same play,
new theater, different set.
Wide, shallow, fairly fast,
roundy-stone streambed, rocky-land river,
it turns there or here -- the ground
telling it so -- draining dull
mountains to the north,
migrating, feeding a few hard-fleshed fish
who live in it. One small sandbar splits
the river, then it loops left,
the road right, and the river's silver
slips under the trees,
into the forest,
and over the sharp perpendicular
edge of the earth.