Willamette

By the muddy majesty

The deceptive beauty

Of our very own Superfund site

Blackberries are ripening

And the air smells of warm berries

As well as stinky mud

And I don’t want to know what else

Chemicals, boat gas, and feces

I try to think only of the berries

Sticky black against green and thorns

As I run slowly, walk quickly

Along the river bank, breaking through

Gathered geese grazing on the beach

Revealed by months of drought.

 

At one spot in the bend of the path

There’s a bronze beaver balanced

On its metal tail, part of an information station

A “Save Our River” kind of place

I’ve seen things left here

For the beaver

On its spot of sunny concrete

Offerings appropriate to the environment

Twigs and leaves

As if metal could turn to flesh and fur

And the incongruous

Today the beaver wears a necklace

Of sorts, a girl’s glittering scrunchie

With a “Hello Kitty” icon on a large white clasp

The spangled rows of material drape around

The beaver, spilling over its bronze torso

Dignity embodied, enchanted fairy beaver

Incongruous and majestic in your shining ruff

What offering can I leave for you?

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