Were it that the river lay like the children’s skin—
satiable, slight but withstanding.
Some nights, when the women would dress in deerskin,
drunk on the river’s water, my daughter with her dulcet
songs for the long dead. Their Purring and Purging.
Her Winter of the Newly Converted.
Winter, when the women wore their hair in high braids.
When the river shook its thin-hooked fingers,
and the water rose to eat its only edges,
then the women who feared endless dust, knew days
like night and dust, and night came with its own kind
of absolution. Absence. Alchemy. Ice returning to water.