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Said the River – One

Time is the substance from which I am made.
Time is a river which carries me along,
but I am the river, it is a tiger that devours me,
but I am the tiger, it is a fire that consumes me,
but I am the fire.

–Jorge Luis Borges
Labyrinths

I am the fire that burns.
I am the tiger that consumes time.
I am all the time there is.

I begin as excess
as run off, eroding
my own bed, insistent
as tears engraving a face
abundant as arterial blood.
Trout leak out wordless
as thoughts, emptying me
from head to mouth.
I am always thinking.
I am not so often thought.

I am a run-on sentence never
stopping when you think I should
cracking and straining beneath you
as a lover does until you lose
your breath and become
(as much as you can)
a part of me, your minutes
running into your hours
as our sun goes down.

Step into me and you’ll walk
in clouds and stars. They say
you cannot step twice
into the same one of me
just as you can never step
twice into yourself.

I trickle, boil
babble, cascade.
I swirl into eddies,
meander and overflow.
I propose and abandon.
I never apologize.
I convey, I bathe and I soothe.
I am the one who gives
and the one who takes away.

published 1995

publisher Penumbra Press

category Said the River

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Some Functions of Poetry

Some Functions of Snow

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