The Swimmer

My father swims and in his arms the river carries
all the light away, the reach of hands far, far beyond the eye –

When he returns I stand aside, the shore a cup
to hold my fractured heart, we never speak –

But in the night the moon climbs through the pines,
shadows of soldiers against the wind –

And I see him there, swimming his long strokes against the current,
his white head bare, numinous in the path of light –

Now in my dreams I stand before him, eye to eye,
my thin hands shake his shoulders with an unknown strength –

As the dark rain of his too early death fills my mouth –
he weeps. And the river carries all the pain away.