A River Ranger’s Lament

Last night the wild geese called all night, their November song urgent in my dreams.

It’s time to leave this hawk-hunted prairie and the wind
harping in these cottonwoods,
leave this vastness of light and its lens
of polished air,
leave this silent sandstone and the sacred text
of this bonescattered ground,
leave even this endless beginningless River.
I’ll carry away from this place a little less
than my whole heart.

Farewell, Missouri Breaks! Thank you, River People! It’s been my joy and good fortune to be here.

-Steve Swanson