Refusal of the Return

Pale scattered
immunosuppressant ovals
chalky steroids;

dispossessed seedpods
tickle at the aural hum
of childhood sleep

when I might hear
river rush in my right ear
(Burntboot Creek, forked
from the Snoqualmie River)
susurrus of waterfall
in my left.

Austere and ascetic nomenclature:
Lindeman crossing into Buck,
North Fork Railroad Trestle,
Rattlesnake Lake,
Joseph, Judith, Seneca, Astrid.

Star women ambling
homeward without much fuss;
never begging for fast water
salt or skin or iodine,
not a meager sliver of apotheosis.

Tokul — darkest water,
utterly still.