By Dan Burns

Walking the path alongside his favorite river,

he stops to contemplate his reason for being.

Why am I here? Because I’m here.

No truer words were spoken

that require no further explanation.


Sitting on the fine sand and polished river rock,

booted feet rooted in the rushing water,

he can only hope that everything before him might

provide a respite from the seemingly

incessant needling from an impatient world.


Embracing his gifted powers of

observation and listening and reasoning,

aided by a nip from a flask and

a drag from a calming cigarette,

he realizes life’s contradictions and what it means to be alive.


His life flows like a river—a stream of consciousness,

serene and turbulent in equal measures, give and take,

paired personalities with a divine goal of

creating life and nourishing and sustaining

the vast ecosystem and creatures downstream.


A gentle riffle leads to a deep pool,

home to a hover of trout, rainbow-streaked,

in view yet maintaining solidarity

while under camouflage and none speaking,

surely his type of friends.


The river is different from yesterday, as he is,

resulting from a season of change,

the spring runoff fed by mountain snow,

cutting banks, redirecting flows,

influencing and impacting all within its path.




As though preparing a family meal,

he lifts a half-submerged rock,

beneath which is a menu ingredient list

that surely will culminate in a grand feast

for his brethren below the waterline.


He ties on an insect-matching fly,

casts it forward to land delicately

on the surface of a swirl

off the opposing bank,

his line a bridge to Shangri-La,


as though extending a hand

in friendship and love,

an invitation to his dinner table,

and he waits, patient but intent,

to make a connection.