In the end, all rivers are nameless,
just as currents folding back and back
where water bends against the bank
are nameless, the water itself different
and indifferent in that crook
of river, though ripples repeat shape,
change ceaselessly. Chunks of sandstone
lie nameless. Cottonwoods rising on sand spits
splitting the water may have names
but ones I’ll never know. A red fox
hunting the riverbottom this May morning
does not call her prey by name nor
name her pups, nourished on blood
milled in anonymous bones.
Spring’s first crickets scratch
from tall grass on the bank a descant
to the river’s full-throated song
as wind throbs through willows
and sweeps down-valley, carrying tales
off the fractured black peak, and all of it
is nameless. What would I call this place?
What voice could join these harmonies
and last as long as water and wind?
From now on, I will go nameless,
without fear of vanishing,
listening for my feet upon earth.
* * * * *
Poet Chris Ransick served as Denver's poet laureate from 2006 to 2010. He teaches at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, an independent creative writing program in Denver.
Ransick has published four volumes of poetry, including Lost Songs and Last Chances and his most recent publication, Asleep Beneath the Hill of Dreams.