Image of shelter



It rained all Tuesday and most of Wednesday,
a steady spring rain that brought the river up
out of its banks, sweeping before it logs and stumps.
Whatever would float battered bridge piers

and littered backwaters. When the sun came out
Thursday water was moving slow and quiet among
trees in the low woods, and pouring fast over
the two small dams at Little Falls in muddy

muscular curls. It broke into froth on the rubble
below, froth from shore to shore, boiling
furious around the bent skeletons of saplings
clinging somehow to the rocks underneath. In the

long drought of last July, teenaged boys walked
out easily on dry concrete to the middle of
the lower dam, hoping to catch fish in the meager
stream's worth of water running through

the old breach. Grass grew thick among the rubble,
and the saplings flourished, and a heron stood
magnificently still, watching the shallows for
silvery glimmers of movement. In yellow heat,

vaporous clouds of gnats idled like apparitions
over the slackwater behind the dam, and the heron,
head cocked to eye the slow stream, appeared
to wonder whether the river would ever rise again.

March, 2000

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