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.