The Silver River Canticle
by Ambika Talwar

Water line is marked by more than one old house.
Mysteries linger in its shadowed plaster,
I turn backward hear ripples flow—I remember
ages past of a time whorled like leaves.
How tender is a canticle hum of dreams—
Be close! he had said to running silver river.

I edge closer carefully to dip my toes in river.
How coldly strange are windows of the house
shut down as if to hide forgotten dreams…
that now peel away aging yellow dim plaster.
From between trees, I see man walk on wet leaves
balancing his gait in slush as if he can remember

how it was—stories of fishing he must remember.
My eyes travel along curving edge of silver river,
I gather few wet golden glistening fallen leaves,
veins so supple tell me of strength, as of house.
I hold them high, look through to see peeling plaster;
man with fishing tackle feels like tender dreams.

Shimmering light lifts in air as if lit by dreams.
I call out to him in tremolo—Do you remember?
He turns between purple shades apt as plaster,
but it breaks into the still flowing silver river.
Shaken, I see him glance at me then points to house—
almost umber surreal splashes arise painted leaves.

I want to bring my canvas out from veil of leaves,
tell again a new tale of fire rinsing dreams.
I once designed rooms wading through arches in house;
windows in different angles, he does remember
He brings me to middle of tender floes of silver river.
We are in strange fusions of delicate plaster.

As if in a classical living painting in plaster
surrounded by sky shadow trees gold leaves,
we walk into cherishing hum of silver river.
Hatted, he stands fish angling by our feet as dreams;
lazily river flows sensuous curving, as I remember
how light wove designs of beauty in our old house.

Our bodies tremble as river surges in our dreams.
Water tenders plaster mixed with fallen leaves—
We remember…Love arches in our new house.


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