Metamorphosis (2019)

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I do not know which is the river—
the dry riverbed
or the flowing water itself.
Without the riverbed,
water has no shape
and courses over the land,
dragging down with it
trees, home, and flotsam.

I do not know which is the river—
the dry riverbed
or the flowing water itself.
But I know each riverbed
is unique, its contours imprinted
with the stamp of experience.
For each riverbed carries the weight of those
who swam its currents,
or waded in the melting snows that filled its arteries,
or camped alongside its sinuous shores.

I do not know which is the river,
the dry riverbed
or the flowing water itself.
But I know clouds
draw water molecules to the sky
and channel water endlessly.
Those molecules of water—
though lifeless and identical—
animate each living thing on earth,
shapeshifting as they move
from branch to branch.
Those molecules are visible
as dew in temperate climates,
and also visible in cold air
as we draw breath.

I do not know which is the river,
the dry riverbed
or the flowing water itself.
But I know that everything flows down,
even the riverbed erodes,
overrun and flooded by the sea.

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