All water shines down out of Heaven, 
        And the things upon shore that I love 
        Are immortal, inescapable, there. 
                                —James Dickey 

Somewhat south of here, where the long, 
        winding line of an interstate now strings 

together those small, nineteenth-century 
        ore towns once built beside railroad routes 

and waterways, the untroubled river tonight 
        illuminated by moonlight still lies like just 

another forgotten train track stretching 
        into the distant hush accompanying each 

evening that comes with its wide and blind 
        presence, arriving as if brimming the black valley 

with a cold, molded cast of iron.  All autumn, 
        teeming leaves have floated over this river, 

swarming across its narrow waters.  Swept 
        in its soft motion—past a few deserted coal 

stations or under the untraveled Chesapeake 
        and Ohio trestles—they follow the current's 

shining surface downstream, the upper 
        branches of their trees again seeded with stars. 

[ First appeared in The James Dickey Newsletter


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