by Gail Denham
After the painting Walk in Beauty by Ann Huston
The first time I walked beside
this beautiful river, it was nearly
at flood stage.
My man walked ahead of me,
showed me a path around the
places where mud was deep.
My heart was full of admiration
for this, my new husband, so careful,
so strong, so full of life’s energy.
Husband built a log hut not
far from this river. We could hear
the waters swirl and roar at night.
The winter brought snow so deep,
we had to wade through high drifts
to fetch water from the river.
One snowy day, husband went
alone to the river. I was glad
to stay and birth our first son.
Darkness came. My friend, who helped
deliver, stayed with me, made pine nut
tea, crooned to our child.
I never walk the river path now.
The memory of our happy times
is too heavy on my heart.
Our son and I will move to a dryer
place, close to my clan. My man
was never found. I hide my tears.