Like you I believe in swimming
upstream, even numbers, the colors blue,
orange and gray.
I’m less watchful in the morning. Afternoons
are disappearing chalk. I know you agree.
If you show me a box of crows
I’ll become the shadow of a wing, or shout
like a stone. Already I’m a bag of peeled
sticks, a can of last year’s special oil.
Tell me again the story of the boy
left in the well, a house on fire, the stars
gone missing—I need a thing to grip
in the wet grass, I need strangers in the trees
(you’ll know the right ones by their titanium rings).
When the ground rises, when the current
turns around, we’ll float upriver like children
in a child’s dream:
the stars bright silver coins falling
on black water:
the stars becoming our own.
Charles Hensler lives and writes in the Pacific Northwest. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Shore, West Trade Review, Pidgeonholes, Parentheses, River Heron Review, ballast, boats against the current and others.