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Tenacity of Lace

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MUSINGS #69 - Bodies of Water appearing in CCR 40


            viewing George Went Swimming at Barnes Hole, but It Got Cold by Joan Mitchell (1957)


       In the painting, the dog’s splashes

– evoked in bold strokes of black

and blue, a daub of red –


strike me not playful,

more a frightened flailing.


       As when the pup slipped

off a log into Coal Creek’s

spring torrent. 


How I jumped in after, caught

and held him high, close to my chest.

For how long or how far


we were carried, I don’t know.

But the water pounded loud,

beat my legs against rocks until


a cottonwood, rooted on the bank,

offered its overhung branch.  


       After a recent flood, a black bear

started crossing the road.  A man

– his twin 12-year olds in the truck –


braked and swerved

into the swollen creek.

Father and Eliza live, but


in a torrent of red hair and spring run-off,

Sophia sank.


       Today, the creek is as high

as it was that morning years ago,

and I remember the spot


where the pup fell in is where

the creek freezes over –

where our dog before him,


lay on the ice to cool

his cancer-riddled body.







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