On my last walk in the mountains
I found antlers dropped by a deer.
They had the story of its life
and the life of three constellations
carved upon them by all they touched.
For a time, I collected stories
I found scattered upon the ground
and placed them in a canvas book bag.
I thought it was important
that these stories not be lost.
In time I passed the street corner
where the River’s Daughter
begged for sentences, metaphors, rhymes.
Though she was August thin,
she still exceeded beautiful
and I shared stories with her freely.
She told me that no story is ever lost
that the roots like to know them
as well as the rocks,
that some of these stories
handed down to the ocean bottom
work their way through
to the center of the world
and stoke its internal fire.
The River’s Daughter kissed me
and took my book bag, left me
with only my story and the starry glint
of sunlight off a ripple
as water rushes over the sewer grate
after a summer storm.