Jordan Rodriguez

Become River

After John Luther Adams’s musical composition Become River

River I by Aleta Jacobson

In Yosemite
with thoughts of John Muir drifting around my head
I jump in the Merced River on a mid-September afternoon
hoping to feel something of the water
that upstream was frozen as glaciers a hundred years before
when Muir wrote them up

In the frigid water I feel a link from my body
to those lost glaciers that flow forevermore as rivers
just as my blood now pushes through my veins
in a mild cold-shock response

A tingling in the hands and feet
and still my blood flowing,
my chest aims at steady breathing: in-flow and out-flow,
the oxygen strewn by conifers is the journeywork of millennia
and in this moment something of ancient ice caps fills my lungs,
encases my body

All is tree and rock and river
my legs kicking and body buoyant
the gravel bottom out of reach

All is green growth and translucent water
light that would dissolve me
in the forgotten remnants of glaciers

All is floating and flux
the mind lapsing

If only I could still feel my feet––
my numbing toes that would become stones
to sink down into a final dissolution

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