The earth understands wearing away,
it understands wear,
and for that reason it loves me like a child.

Last month a river took houses
where there were towns.
Canyon highways poured into the plain.

It took living rooms and bikes —
kids’ bicycles, lawn furniture,
cars, and then the lawn.

The stream near the shop
ran for seven weeks. I woke up
hearing water and not the wind.

It carved new rivers, new pain, new people.
Sitting out, I hear it whispering
that it loves me, sweet as August,

because the leaves stayed on the plum,
the aspen, and the Rocky Mountain maple
that we lost on Halloween.

Three o’clock, the river whispers
that it loves me like a girl.
Loves me like the girls on Richards Street.