He seeks the consensus of dark bends,
feeder creeks, the formations of gravel
turned into messages on sand bars.
Where there is sky, he dreams of more.
Where there are politicians he dreams of men with true hearts,
their dark veins pulsing with pure run-off.
He offers himself to the air, is willing to trade his life
for one river, or if necessary, one cedar, one mayfly,
even one pebble dropped from the belly of a glacier.

He uses his body like a sextant, charts the stars at night,
imagines his voice coming from the bottom of the river,
prowls the swamps with his eyes closed, casting into dark pockets,
the fish swarming in the half light seeping from his skin.

He is true only to himself.
He knows no speeches, has no platform.
His eyes are clear pools, his head a seething
universe of emergence schedules,
the secrets of nymphs, that single language
coming from cold springs in the hills,
each one a wild heart pumping the wisdom of iron
into the river.

Michael Delp is a writer of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction whose works have appeared in numerous national publications. He is the author of Over the Graves of Horses (1989), Under the Influence of Water (1992), The Coast of Nowhere (1997), and The Last Good Water (2003), in addition to six chapbooks of poetry. His latest work, As If We Were Prey, is now available. He teaches creative writing at the Interlochen Arts Academy and has received several awards for his teaching. More about his work is available at his website.