Great River Road
by Christine Swanberg

Driving north in Iowa, the Great River Road
     before us, the March thaw sprinkling sunlight
on blue icy patches of river, we pass bridges
     and dams where eagles spent the winter fishing.
Their huge nests rest in tree tops that line
     the riverís edge. Silver glints of river carp in beaks
catch the sunís wink as the eagles carry on.

     When you think of resolution, how your life
will fledge and wing despite its threat of extinction,
     or conflicts reaped upon the unsuspecting earth,
think about the eagles who survived,
     their perseverance even in ill-advised slaughter,
how they rose against the odds, catch fish as
     seasons turn. Think of the Mississippi River,

its pilgrims and refugees on barges and boats,
     the current that leads on to a distant place,
the promise of new life. Driving closer to Dubuque,
     we watch the hills grow jagged, past
towns with names like Luxemburg,
     sheep peaceful on rocky hills, that first
spring green promise now sprigging forth.

First published in THE AVOCET.

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